How China 🇨🇳 Is Taking Over East Africa’s Digital Economic Stack (China Africa Podcast)

In places like East Africa, Chinese technology is indispensable up and down the stack

The technology stack, either in a company or a country, is comprised of the different technology layers that together form a digital communications ecosystem. And in places like East Africa, Chinese technology is indispensable up and down the stack — everything from the internet cables that deliver connectivity to the networks that route all of the data and, most visibly, all those Chinese-made mobile phones that are ubiquitous.

So, when the U.S. government focuses a disproportionate amount of attention on Huawei, and ZTE to some extent, they’re missing the much bigger picture where Chinese technology is pervasive throughout East Africa’s digital ecosystem.

And Chinese tech companies aren’t just playing in the hardware space, they’re also becoming increasingly active in the African app market, e-commerce and laying the ground work for emerging technologies including blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Kioneki (Michael Kimani) is closely following all of this from Nairobi where he’s an independent blockchain advisor to companies and governments in the region. He joined Eric Oliander and Cobus van Staden on this edition of the China Africa Podcast to unpack how China has taken over the technology stack powering East Africa’s digital economy.

From minute 06:18 – 38.08

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Why African Startups Should Tokenize To break the White Man’s Curse

In Africa, there is a long-running feud between white expatriates and ex-Ivy League founders on the one hand, and grassroots-bred Black local founders on the other.

In Africa, there is a long-running feud between white expatriates and ex-Ivy League founders on the one hand, and grassroots-bred Black local founders on the other. At stake is who has bragging rights to Africa’s hot, rising startup narrative.

Locals from East Africa and Nigeria accuse “wazungus,” or outsiders, of perpetuating racially biased venture capital funding cycles, muddying the funding landscape for the real African founders.

With close to $5 billion invested since 2014, mostly from Asian, European and U.S. investment banks, venture capital firms, development agencies and limited partnerships, allocations in key African markets are causing disharmony.

In Kenya, the divide involves local and white expatriates, while in Nigeria the tension is between local founders and Nigerians schooled abroad.

It’s time for a radical solution rooted in the technology we want to develop.

I propose tokenizing African startup debt and equity on a blockchain, under a clear consumer framework, as a way to break the white man’s curse.

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