Fintech; The Next Big Thing In Africa
March 26, 2021
March 4, 2022
The African EdTech sector has been experiencing monumental growth in recent years due to innovations brought about by the adoption of varying FinTech platforms. The sector has also benefited massively from the restriction and limitation to conventional (brick and mortar) learning methods due to the persisting Coronavirus pandemic. The sheer thirst of the over 1.3 Billion population of Africa with a median age of 19.4 years is another driving force for this transforming development.
Hence, Edtech platforms in Africa have an estimated monumental annual growth rate of 46% which is about 6 times the global standard.
The easing of Covid -19 shutdowns across the continent due to the development of vaccines was expected to decline the growth of the EdTech industry but to the surprise of all, the sector continues to grow astronomically. More students are now opting for online education because of the flexibility it offers above the conventional brick and mortar classroom method of learning.
Victor Ariyibi-Oke, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder at the Metropolitan School of Business and Management (MSBM), a London-based UK online EdTech Organization that offers high-quality education to students across the Middle East and African Region (MEA) strongly believe that EdTech can help power the African economy when speaking on the Business Edge Show on News Central TV on the topic “How EdTech Can Power African Economies.”
Here are some of the opportunities that Victor believes will continue to drive the growth of MSBM as a unique case study of the EdTech industry on the African continent.
The FinTech edge
The influx and development of new technology companies in recent years on the African continent have become the melting-pot and the required catalyst to fuel developmental changes within the educational sector. Financial investment into education technologies has now moved education beyond the analogue phase to the digital stage, the rigid offline and text-only delivery approach is gradually giving way to robust audiovisual platforms. MSBM platform has leveraged this edge to accelerate its growth and attractiveness to learners.
The EdTech platform has a wider coverage span than the conventional method that is subject to so many barriers and limitations. At MSBM our platform is designed to deliver courses and tutor an unlimited number of learners so far they can get to their mobile devices or a location where the platform is set up. The MSBM EdTech platform will skate natural disasters, pandemics, labor unrest and many other vices that incapacitate the conventional methods of learning.
As it is often said that knowledge is power, EdTech will more efficiently place knowledge in the hands of the teeming African youth that will most certainly bail them out of poverty and ignorance that has kept the continent backward for years.
In Victor’s conviction, the operators of this industry segment are just still scratching the opportunities that exist on the surface, there is a lot to be done for EdTech to deliver the values it carries.
World-class resources at learners fingertips
MSBM EdTech platform have the capacity to bring choice and quality resources together on its platform that will be easily available to learners. The combination of the best of Africa, the research from Harvard and lecture notes of the best professors can all be aggregated to one place on the EdTech platform to develop the raw skill of the African child.
Here are challenges that the EdTech sector is facing;
Government acceptability and accreditation
This is one of the debacles to the growth and penetration of the EdTech sector. In the peculiar case of the Metropolitan School of Business Management (MSBM) led by Victor Ariyibi, he had to seek accreditation in the UK when such is not available in Nigeria. The government in Africa need to give more recognition, acceptability and accreditation to operators, this will enable more learners that desire to learn through this route to be confident that their certification will be accepted at the workplace in the same way it applies to conventional education.
Public-private partnership window
Victor emphasizes the development of a strong public-private partnership between the government and private EdTech entrepreneurs as the way forward for the sector to truly develop in Africa and deliver value. He points to the opportunity of creating more jobs in Africa as one of the reasons why the government should be interested in EdTech:
“if governments (across Africa) are to critically look at the (EdTech) industry, we will see it as teamwork between the government and the private industry, whereby we're able to reach people from all over Africa. And then by doing that, we employ a lot of more people to play in this sector,” Victor said on the morning show.
Basic infrastructure that enhances learning
The government can do a lot in terms of providing the necessary infrastructure that EdTech can run on. For example, one of the key issues that Victor outlines as the challenges facing EdTech in Africa is internet connectivity and access to smart devices with which students can connect to EdTech platforms.
MSBM bear a very high cost to sustain an uninterrupted uptime, fast and effective internet services to power both its back and front end operations just to give premium services to its yearning clients
“In Africa, there is a large gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. Consequently, some of the students only have access to devices that cannot stream good multimedia, you can't even do effective zoom calls on these devices. And then like I said, the internet bandwidth is also a major challenge, which, holds students from some of the African countries back from being able to study online,” Victor noted
Flow of funds into EdTech
There are noticeable and significant funds flowing from foreign investors into the EdTech sector, last year 2021, Nigerian EdTech platforms like Ulesson, Edukoya and others raised significant funds to boost their operations and expansion plans signaling those investors are interested in the African EdTech sector. Victor in his media comment said “last year alone, I think, the industry, did over $400 million which validates that quite a lot of investors are keen on investing in education in Africa because this is the only way we can scale education in Africa. This is the only way we can get to remote parts of Africa.”
Victor however points to the fact that most of the funding being received in the African EdTech sector is majorly going to players in the K-12 category because governments have been reluctant to grant accreditations to online higher institutions of learning.
“So, what EdTech is doing in the K-12 industry is after school support to help k-12 learners prepare for their exams.
“So, a lot of money has been pumped, into this sub-category of EdTech while a small amount has flowed into the higher education segment because people are mindful of the accreditation process barrier. We had to go and get accreditation in the UK in order to play in this industry. Because in Africa, I’ve not seen a lot of EdTech companies being accredited unless you have huge and gigantic buildings.”
The cerebral entrepreneur noted that with minimal support from the government, EdTech companies are already attracting foreign investments. His own startup: the Metropolitan School of Business Management (MSBM) recently reached the 500,000 learners mark, placing it as one of, if not the biggest EdTech platform in Africa.
The CEO of MSBM believes vast opportunities still exist within the EdTech space in Africa, he looks forward to an accredited learning opportunity for Africans and he is open to partnership with government and other private operators to further lift the continent of Africa out of poverty by putting knowledge and skill in the hands of the teeming youth.
Culled from Victor Ariyibi-Oke’s interview with the News Central TV Business Edge Show, on the topic “How Edtech Can Power African Economies.”
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