Doing business in Africa is no easy task. The lack of infrastructure, poor business practices, and the bureaucracy make the process a daunting challenge.
Some say Africa is doomed. Some say it will take decades to emerge—if it ever does. Some would deem as foolish any investors that bet on African’s ability to become a viable consumer society. Many think of Africa’s development through the scope of a preconceived, Western linear scheme. At MYSIMAX we are sure this way of conceptualizing growth, both economically and in terms of standards of living, greatly hurts Africa. It conveys a derogatory image of the continent and suggests that it is so far behind that it has few chances of ever catching up.
This attitude keeps investors away because they think Africa is unable to sustain a suitable business climate, and without a significant influx of capital, the local entrepreneurial environment is unlikely to significantly blossom. Rostow wrote that economic development follows a precise path and that it has to go through defined steps. This theory conveys the underlying idea that failure to complete one step of development leads to stagnation. There would be only one way to grow, only one way to achieve prosperity and development. But another economist, Alexander Gerschenkron, argued that, on the contrary, development is not a linear process. Each country has its own economic background. As a result, innovation and growth appear in a variety of ways.
As one might have guessed, the latter theory is our favorite at Mysimax.
We were often called dreamers when we talked about our project. We may be, but our detractors are the ones who lack a good sense of reality. Stuck into development schemes that were drafted fifty years ago, the detractors fail to recognize the vast business opportunities Africa offers. But our pragmatism allows us to grasp all the potential of this continent. We are dreamers, and we dream of an Africa where every child educates himself on the Internet using a tablet—a MYSIMAX MiX tablet—whether it is a Mini MiX, a MiX Mk2, or a MiX Mk2.
But we are no fools; we are pragmatic dreamers. We can bring connectivity and knowledge to Africa, and we intend to do it with the help of MYSIMAX applications installed on MYSIMAX hardware. We are going to achieve this by dealing with things as they are instead of wasting energy on trying to change them. You might ask, “Why sell tablets in countries where such a low percentage of the population has stable access to electricity?” At MYSIMAX we don’t think that’s the problem. If there is no efficient electrical network, we will make sure that all the MYSIMAX MiX series tablets come with dynamo hand-powered chargers or solar-powered chargers.
The same goes for all the hurdles we will come across through our journey. If consumers lack purchasing power, we will design business models that are sustainable and founded on alternative solutions. If there is little or no retail network to sell our MiX series tablets, we tour the country to introduce the population to the technology, then we go through universities, governments, NGOs, and companies to reach our customers. MYSIMAX dreams big, and we are persistent in finding new, untapped ways to bring state-of-the-art technologies to Africans.