The African Revolution: Exporting Creativity to the World

We’re witnessing a fundamental change in the way the world works: a transformation in technology, connectivity and accessibility that is driven by mobile. A transformation that is unlocking human potential and inspiring a creative revolution – one that we believe could be led by Africa.
Connectivity inspires creativity. It gives us the power to imagine bigger, better ideas. Already a new generation of makers, doers and builders are launching companies that are radically disrupting established businesses and even entire industries. Today, with nothing but a smartphone and some code, you can create an auto brand, a supermarket, a fashion label or even a bank.
This is happening across Africa in industries as diverse as finance, eCommerce, health, education, farming and entertainment – from small businesses like Funkidz in Kenya, which sells amazingly playful children’s furniture, all the way up to the likes of Tuluntulu, which is bringing local on-demand video to Africans everywhere.

Connectivity is transforming Africa. By 2020 there will be over 500 million smartphone connections1 and a billion mobile broadband connections, representing 60% of the connection base. The mobile ecosystem will drive well over $100bn in economic value2 across Sub-Saharan Africa and it will create or influence over 6 million jobs.
74% of people in South Africa – 1.3x more than the global average - connect to Facebook solely through a mobile device3. And the things that make mobile matter, also matter more there. Africans are well versed in some of the constraints that will face the next billion people to come online – cost of data, slow connections, older devices and multiple sim cards – and are already thinking about how creativity can solve these challenges.
The importance of understanding how local customs fuel unique use cases – like message to buy, cash on delivery and missed calls – is well understood in Africa, and its businesses know how to harness global connectedness and local innovation for rapid scale across markets. Africa also has the youngest population in the world: 200 million people aged between 15-24 live there, a figure that will double in the next 30 years4.
In Africa, connectivity matters. It’s a lifeline to a world beyond the borders and boundaries that people have always known. It’s not a luxury; it’s a truly transformative opportunity to create a different kind of life.

As mobile has established itself as the connective tissue for billions of people worldwide, it has also established itself as one of the most important creative and communications channel we’ve ever known. And this is known better in Africa than anywhere.
From cave paintings to Old Masters to modern media; all art needs a canvas. And the oldest canvas we’ve ever found was discovered about 300km from Cape Town. That stone age canvas was just a piece of ochre and the ‘art’ was a few hatched patterns, but Africa is where it all started, 70,000 years ago. And Africa is where it can start again.
Mobile may be a new kind of canvas but the goal remains the same: to create something beautiful, something meaningful, something valuable. To create work that lasts. Africa is poised to lead the world forward in creating this work, and it’s making it on mobile.

The above is from a keynote given by Sarah Personette, Facebook’s Vice-President of Global Business Marketing, at Loeries Creative Week in August.

Via Facebook for business