5 ‘Africa Rising’ Ted Talks That Will Inspire You

Updated on 1 December 2017

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5 'Africa Rising' Ted Talks That Will Inspire You

Africa is rising and its entrepreneurs are among those at the forefront of the revolution.

More than a few entrepreneurs, experts and cheerleaders have inspired us with their ‘Africa Rising’ talks on the hugely popular speaker series, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), sharing ideas on everything from how to take African startups from the street corner to the global stage, how to commodify the African experience and even how to build wealth using cattle.

Here are 5 inspiring Africa-focused lectures that prove the future is African.

I Got To Witness The African Startup Revolution | Marcello Schermer
All across the continent, entrepreneurs are building global businesses by solving local problems that the rest of the world didn’t even know existed, says Marcello Schermer, managing director at Seedstars World, which promotes, connects and invests up to $1.5 million in emerging market startups through its exclusive startup competition in 60 countries.

Working in over 20 entrepreneurship ecosystems on the continent and supporting startups in over 17 African countries, Schermer has learned that every country offers new surprises and defies prejudices.

“What if I told you that the future of the world is being built in Africa right now? Sounds like a pretty out-there idea right? Well, don’t take it from me, this is what Mark Zuckerberg said after he left Nairobi in Kenya which he visited just a few weeks ago,” he says in the talk he gave in November, 2016.

Reasons to watch: Find out about how Africa’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is developing and some of the ground-breaking innovations coming out of the continent.

A Crowd-farming Idea That Could Make You Rich | Ntuthuko Shezi
“How do we define value? Trailblazing entrepreneur, Ntuthuko Shezi, goes back to basics with his startup Livestock Wealth to answer the question.

“For centuries, African people have stored their value in cows, and from that they derived life-sustaining milk for nutrients, beef for meat, skin for clothes, horns for weapons, and cow dung for fuel. Today, the stock market is where the bulk of humanity’s value is stored, in the form of an increasingly complex and somewhat unfamiliar—if not downright intimidating—matrix of shares and bonds and derivatives.”

Reasons to watch: Learn how this entrepreneur is combining an understanding of modern-day financial tools with old and familiar concepts of livestock farming, to deliver a crowd-sourced investment platform that everyone can understand.

You Don’t Need An App For That | Toby Shapshak
A world-renowned speaker and tech guru, Toby Shapshak often speaks about how innovation is better in Africa. He is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Stuff magazine; is a contributor to Forbes and writes a weekly column for the Financial Mail.

While the rest of the world is updating their Facebook statuses and playing games on smartphones, Africa is developing some of the most innovative solutions such as the globally dominant Pay-As-You-Go technology and useful SMS-based solutions to everyday needs, says Shapshak in this TED talk that has raked up over 100,000 views.

Reasons to watch: Find out why Shapshak says innovation in Africa is the purest form of innovation.

Commodifying The African Experience | Velani Mboweni 
“When I look at the news and social media, I cannot help but feel that the narrative is incomplete. We see progress, innovation and change all happening around us that as Africans we’ve convinced ourselves: ‘let’s create our own Silicon Valley’. But we’ve never paused to ask ourselves: ‘what do we have, as Africans, that makes us truly unique?’ How about we take that, spread it across the world and make it great,” says social entrepreneur and disruptive tech enthusiast, Velani Mboweni.

He co-founded the social venture, Phambili Mzansi to connect people with resources and a network to solve Africa’s pertinent issues. He also serves as CEO and founder of two tech ventures in Johannesburg.

He is described as one of the world’s top entrepreneurs under 25 in his TED talk, and a Global Fellow at The Kairos Society (San Francisco, CA).

Reasons to watch: Learn how to start deriving value out of your own experiences.

The Big Lie of Small Business | Vusi Thembekwayo
Known as the “rock starof public speaking”, Vusi Thembekwayo is a prolific communicator and venture capitalists and in this talk he argues that small business doesn’t have to stay small business.

“You and I need to unlock our thinking, it’s not okay to start small businesses. It’s not okay for us to be happy to be vendors on the side of the road selling fruits and vegetables. What we need to do is own the place that produces the fruit, own the road infrastructure that moves the fruit, own the retail infrastructure that sells the fruit and own the banking system that transacts the whole platform. And by the way, why don’t we take the taxes as well,” he says.

Reasons to watch: Hear what Thembekwayo says African entrepreneurs need the most to prosper. 

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