Unlocking Web 3.0 Opportunities In Africa

Peace Hyde
Published 7 months ago
Del Titus Bawuah 1 image supplied
Del Titus Bawuah believes Web 3.0 is the next growth phase of Africa; image supplied

How is African business viewing the new growth potential of Web 3.0?

“Africa is ready for Web 3.0,” says Del Titus Bawuah, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Lili Smart
City, an entrepreneur in tech, sustainability and cultural impact and an early investor in Web 3.0.
His reasoning for this is simple: firstly, global tech businesses have already taken the initiative to set
up shop in Africa.

“The second reason is that our youth are now educated and some in the diaspora are well-traveled and
we have a consciousness as a continent about the power of Web 3.0 and not to mention mobile user
penetration is averaging between 70 percent to 85 percent,” says Bawuah.

Then, finally, the power of technology has already spearheaded the growth in the African fintech space
with many users in villages now making millions in daily transactions. The digital future is on our
doorstep. Bawuah also talks about global tech businesses flocking to African shores.

The continent is the only one with the majority of its population making up the youth bracket. This
has led to the upsurge of innovative and world-leading tech companies such as Twitter, YouTube,
Google and Microsoft calling the continent home for their next growth phase.

This trend is the catalyst that moved Bawuah from the lucrative London real estate space where he
managed portfolios for some of the world’s richest individuals. He names among his clients Africa’s
richest man Aliko Dangote, and Dubai’s Crown Prince.

Before he would cut his teeth in the lucrative tech space, however, Bawuah was involved in a company
which was later acquired for £120 million.

“So, a lot of people approached me to say ‘if you helped them do that, can you help us do it for another
business?’ I started doing strategic partnership, fundraising and being able to move a company from
early stage to investment. I am the one that you call when you have raised about £2 million but you
want to get it to £20 million and they don’t know how to go about raising that capital,” avers Bawuah.
After four to five years of consulting, Bawuah moved into the crypto currency space early in 2014 and
as a result got a number of insights into the kind of areas he should be looking at when it comes to
investing in tech.

Today, he is on a mission to enlighten the African continent about what that next big thing is – Web
3.0.

“The only thing that is not happening in Africa is that more businesses are not being developed. The
businesses that are being developed on this Web 3.0 foundation are doing really well. The telcos are
doing well and the fintech businesses are booming in West Africa and they are raising very big series A
and seed rounds and it has become very clear that this is a hot spot. The opportunities are there.”

“When it comes to Africa and Web 3.0, the argument is really simple. We are home to the second largest bitcoin (BTC) market as well as estimated crypto growth of more than $100 billion in the past
year alone. This is the next growth phase for Africa and our tech entrepreneurs need to start waking
up to the growth opportunities here,” says Amb. Kwame Opoku, an award-winning futurist,
blockchain and crypto enthusiast.

So, what exactly is Web 3.0?

Like other iterations before this, Web 3.0 is the third generation of the world wide web and refers to a
unique situation where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain-based decentralization comes
together to create transparent internet experiences. In other words, it’s all about challenging the
traditional views about ownership.

How? Through Blockchain.

Built on a public ledger that is maintained automatically on a programmable network of computers
around the world, the revolution of Web 3.0 means users are able to own digital assets which are
unique. These are also referred to as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and they can range from anything
from art, music or even video games.

This decentralization of the internet and digital assets are key to unlocking the full potential of Web
3.0 in Africa.

“We have 1.3 billion population, 70% of the world’s youth reside on our continent and our GDP is only
$2.5 trillion. We have four tech companies in the world that combined are 10 times the size of Africa
in global domestic product. That’s crazy and they employ less than 10 million people. So, the issue in
Africa is productivity,” says Bawuah.

For those economies already benefiting from Web 3.0, governments played a pivotal role in fostering
these digital innovations. For Africa to catch up, we must do the same.

“Kenya’s hands-off approach allowed for the proliferation of the mobile money payment M-Pesa so if
they take the same approach with Web 3.0 then we should see similar success stories. However, in
Nigeria, the central bank is blocking these innovative companies from making payments with
cryptocurrency exchanges,” comments Opoku.

“I feel like the reason why Africa will be impacted is because we have an opportunity to create an
additional industry. We are going to be the world’s resource for agriculture and food and commodities
but we can also become the world’s resource for cheap accessibility to Web 3.0 and by creating those
industries we are going to have a new lease of jobs and talent and people will look at Africa as a place
to come to and not a place to capitalize,” avers Bawuah.

One person already capitalizing on the sudden Web 3.0 wave across Africa is Seyi Awotunde, the
founder of a new luxury NFT marketplace called Deliciae. The platform connects High Net Worth
Individuals (HNWIs) with digital, physical and experiential based NFTs (assets).

To think less than three years ago, Awotunde had to take on a job as a house cleaner after losing two
corporate sales jobs in the space of three months.

“The first one (job loss) happened a month after getting married and the second happened when my
wife was five months pregnant with my son. This all served as fuel to turn my situation around,” says
Awotunde.

Web 3.0 has turned his life around.

Today, Awotunde is getting ready to auction 10% of the future publishing earnings from a Michael
Jackson song Whatever Happens turned into an NFT on his own NFT marketplace.

“African artists are making remarkable strides in the NFT space, including the likes of Osinachi and
Anthony Azekwoh. As Nigeria ranks as the sixth largest adopter of NFTs and South Africa as the 12th,
global representation matters and Deliciae has been built to ensure this.”

“NFTs offer a future of economic prosperity for local black artists and communities, Owo, the founder
of AfroDriods, an NFT project, has thus funded the first free art school in Nigeria. Challenges of land
and real estate ownership can be combated by blockchain and NFT verification – this will change the
scope of ownership by supporting local landowners and individuals,” says Awotunde.

Both Awotunde and Bawuah believe that there is tremendous potential to create secondary market
liquidity for more African NFT artists and digital entrepreneurs and also believe that the NFT hype is
spreading like wildfire. Africa, with its sprawling youth population, will hopefully not miss the spark.