This is a transcript from our weekly YouTube live AMA:
Anita Mlakar: 00:28
Hello to everybody and welcome to 3air’s every week AMA, where we are talking about 3air and the project of bringing internet to Africa.
Anita Mlakar is my name and hello to everybody who is already here. Thank you for being with us, of course. And thank you for your interest and questions that you have sent to us in our community on Telegram, Twitter, or discord. If you’re not a part of this yet. Welcome to join us.
I would also like to get you involved today. So, you can click like, hit the bell icon to get informed every time we are going live on our YouTube channel. You could subscribe or share it with someone. And of course, since we are live right now, we will appreciate every comment, don’t hesitate to ask questions that may appear to you during the conversation with our special guests Ammin Youssouf. And the best question will be rewarded with 1000 tokens. So go for it, guys.
You may already know what follows after welcome remarks.
Yes, that’s right, a short introduction of 3air and our project.
So 3air is a blockchain based startup who will leverage the power of decentralization to provide internet connectivity to consumers in Africa and provide the physical infrastructure to support this through its partnership with K3 telecom. Only 20% of people on the African continent are active Internet users with less than 1% Having access to broadband. So, compare this with a 60% of the world population that are active Internet users, and it quickly becomes evident that African nations have quite a distance to go in order to fully benefit from the World Wide Web. So, the lack of internet in this region has also a social and economic impact, including the way citizens interact with the government, with businesses and with each other.
So 3air’s vision is to make broadband connectivity available to the masses that is easy to access through its blockchain based platform. So 3air is not only about connecting the unconnected, but it’s also about banking, the unbanked and giving people of developing countries equal opportunities.
You can read more about the project in the white paper. I am the one giving you more information live every Wednesday with Sandi Bitenc, the CEO of 3air and I will of course welcome and say hello to him again.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:13
Hello, Anita. Hello, 3air family.
Anita Mlakar: 03:15
Welcome to AMA, Sandi.
Sandi Bitenc: 03:19
We are here every Wednesday, right?
Yes, we are. I got a question yesterday is the AMA on? Of course, it is. It’s always there.
Anita Mlakar: 03:28
Oh my god. Was there a question?
Sandi Bitenc: 03:30
It was, yeah.
Anita Mlakar: 03:31
Yeah, well Sandi and you’re active, we are following you. Of course, the whole community is following you and you are on different AMAs not only here, so maybe, there was a confusion about that, and we will get back to that.
First of all, Sandi, we are in the last week of presale, Is that so?
Sandi Bitenc: 03:55
It is. I don’t know how we set it but it’s going to close exactly at the AMA, next week. It should be, I think so.
Anita Mlakar: 04:09
We’re really excited about that.
Sandi Bitenc: 04:10
One more week to go.
Anita Mlakar: 04:13
So how do you feel about that? it’s been a period, a very important time and now there is a closure of something, it’s not closing like the whole project, but it’s a closure very important one.
Sandi Bitenc: 04:30
Yeah, it’s a bit mixed feeling. So, to be honest and I never lie, so I’m not really too satisfied with it. That’s it. So, we still have a lot of work to do in regards to getting some more funds in and we are working in the background a lot and we won’t make it with the public presale. That’s clear right now. So, we need to focus on private sales and getting some more private investors in. So, this is now my main goal. I’m trying to get as many private investors in as possible. We got some equity investors, and also getting some potential partnerships but everything takes so long here and it’s kind of easy and fast when you’re in the public and everything is known but once you start talking about a bit bigger amounts with some investors, then everything takes time.
I had a call last week also with Giga the UNICEF project. And that’s also going to take a lot of time. they have so much compliance that we need to go through, and they like what we were doing. And actually, we found out they are mapping of schools and so on in Sierra Leone already, and we actually have coverage of more than 1000 schools that Giga has mapped out that they want to connect. So, I’m pretty sure that there’s going to happen but it’s something that is not going to happen in next two months. Probably it as it seems, those things really take time.
Anita Mlakar: 06:28
Yes, I know. what we have, we are patient, right? And you are very sincere about the whole project, which is very important talking also how you feel about it, and how satisfied you are and that’s really good. That’s transparent. That’s nice.
Before we call on our guests, Sandi, just maybe a word or two about a T-shirt contest. How is it going?
Sandi Bitenc: 06:53
We closed the submissions, were closed on Monday, and we got something over 70 submissions and that was amazing that I didn’t expect so I wasn’t thinking that from the community, that will come so many submissions. A few of them were then doubled that we checked. So, I think right now we are voting on about around 50 designs, and I can share the screen.
Anita Mlakar: 07:25
They’re really good. They’re very interesting and I think it will be a fight for the best one.
Sandi Bitenc: 07:34
Yeah. Let me see if I shared the right one. I did. Okay, you need to vote. So, you need to go to our docs.3air.io. So, it’s in the documents, and then you go under giveaways, and under T-shirt contest, and there is gallery and voting, we made it really easy. You go here, and then just wait that everything loads. It takes sometimes some time. Okay. And so here are all the designs. And once you like something, you just click on it. And then you have here the vote.
This one has already 53 votes. So, you’ve been busy. That’s nice and I think that voting doesn’t work in in Brave browser. And I also think it didn’t work in Firefox but I’m not pretty sure. I know that in Brave browser, it doesn’t work. So please don’t use brave browser, just use something else. Else it really works. So yeah, we have those.
There was also a question. So, the first five that get the most votes will get, I think we said 1000 tokens, it’s here T-shirt contest, so I don’t say anything wrong. the top five will get 1000 tokens each plus a T-shirt. And each design that we will select to print will get 10,000 tokens.
There was also a question. So just to clarify this, it is. “It’s going to be the decision of the design team or Laura will have the upper hand on this. What are we going to print?” So, it’s not going to be this time it’s not going to be a community decision. In the future there will be also community decisions about this but right now when we’re still developing, and we need to we need to keep an eye on our branding and so on. We really Want to know that everything that goes out and printed on a T-shirt is really in line with all the guidelines that we have for 3air. So, yeah, it’s going to be in the end, it’s going to be our decision what’s good, what gets printed.
We also have some professional designers working on and also Laura will give some of her concepts and then we’ll print a few of the designs.
I actually spoke to another Cardano project called Waya Collective and I think that we will print the T-shirts to them. It may be a bit more expensive, but I think we are all in the same space trying and we need to give support to each other. So, I think we’ll print with them. And also, so that last week, you actually took one meeting off of my hands. So, you had the meeting with another Cardano project, right?
Anita Mlakar: 11:13
Sandi Bitenc: 11:15
Yeah, with Empowa. And I had a meeting with them this week. So, we also spoke and they’re really nice guys. let’s see what we can do. I think there is also some synergy. So, they are they are building houses, we can provide the Internet to those houses. so, it’s really good.
Anita Mlakar: 11:34
Really nice, important projects that are coming up in Africa and if we could connect in a way, this is just great. And I’m really looking forward to that, too. So, thank you, Sandi, looking forward to the merchandise of 3air because you know, I would really like to put a T-shirt on and have a sign of 3air or whatever will be chosen, but I know it will be of course connected to 3air.
Sandi Bitenc: 11:57
Of course. It’s coming soon.
Anita Mlakar: 11:59
Yeah. Now Sandi, I’m really looking forward to introducing and welcoming our guest, Ammin Youssouf is with us.
Hello and welcome.
Ammin Youssouf: 12:10
Hello, how are you?
Anita Mlakar: 12:12
Oh, we are great. How are you, Ammin?
Ammin Youssouf: 12:16
I’m fine. I’m okay. Right now, I’m in Paris. It’s a little bit cold but not too cold. And, but we have a lot of issues with COVID, as you all know, in Paris, but that’s okay. Getting to an end, I hope with this.
Anita Mlakar: 12:37
Yes. I’m from Slovenia, I am in Slovenia, right now. It’s very cold too. So, we have, I don’t know minus something. And then we come to two or maybe three plus and that’s it. But it’s winter. So, it’s nice to have winter too, right?
Ammin Youssouf: 12:52
Exactly! So, thank you for welcoming me here and hi to all the audience.
Anita Mlakar: 13:03
Thank you, Ammin. I have a first question, I have a lot of questions for you today. And I would like to also invite everybody that is with us today live to ask questions, because the best one, we will choose at the end, which was the best question will also be rewarded with 1000 tokens. So, you’re invited guys to ask questions, and really try hard because I have a lot of questions. And maybe some of you has a question that is better than mine, but I’m not sure.
So first of all, Ammin, I would like to do a short introduction of you, if you allow me.
So Ammin Youssouf is an impact technologist and founder of Afrobytes, an annual International tech conference connecting Business and Technology Leaders, founders, investors, policy experts, and the media with the African tech ecosystem. In a short time Afrobytes has become the largest and most influential African tech event in Europe. Well, this is just amazing. And prior to founding Afrobytes, Ammin founded the award-winning digital agency, Big Youth. He spent 20 years building digital platforms and operating digital markets, campaigns and so on, and so on.
So Ammin, this is just an impressing story, really.
Ammin Youssouf: 14:22
Anita Mlakar: 14:25
You are doing an important work. You’re connecting African entrepreneurs startups with Europe, with the world. And this conference is a really important one. So, could you for starters, tell us, how did you come up with this idea?
Ammin Youssouf: 14:45
Very simple. You have more than 1 billion people in Africa right now. And it’s going to be the most populated continent. In the next 50 years. I think 2050, 1 men or women Out of four on Earth, we live physically in Africa. So, in any business that you are doing, you have to address this market because this is huge. And we can see now, a lot of- when I started, like five or six years ago, when you had a fundraising goal of $1 million for a company was like, “Wow, you raise $1 million in Africa. That’s great”. Now, you have valuation of billion dollar, you have unicorns and people are raising 20–200 million like this in a click in FinTech. So, there’s something happening there.
Anita Mlakar: 15:43
Yes, I’m a little bit involved in startups in Europe, I’m also a co-host of a conference Podim, which is a very important one here in our part of Europe, also for startups. And we also have an interest in Europe, to have as much unicorns as possible. That is also to get good investors to invest in them but we’re talking about amounts that are higher than a million, maybe two millions and more and this is very hard to get in these days.
So, what is an interest of investors to invest, in entrepreneurs, or companies in Africa?
Ammin Youssouf: 16:27
First, when you start business or startup or a company, you have to solve problems. It happens that we have a lot of issues in Africa. So, we have a lot of opportunities to invent to also leap frogging. I could talk about tons of sectors. The most well-known is definitely right now it’s FinTech. If you look at the numbers, for example, Stripe recently, I think it was last year or two years ago, when they invested in a company. They invested in a company in Nigeria, in Pay stack, 200 million. They didn’t go in France or whatever. They were like, “No, we go there” because Nigeria is really booming in terms of FinTech services, it’s huge. So, the most well-known thing is definitely FinTech and all the mobile money stuff but tons of other sectors.
If you look at agriculture, for example, there’s a huge potential growth here. If you look at a value sector, like education, so I think that education is a good example. We have so many kids coming on the market to educate right now that even if you have the concrete tools, wherever you want, you can’t build the schools, at the pace of kids coming in the market, forget about it, it’s impossible. Even if you have the people to do that, you would have to do like more than 24 hours a day to do that. It’s wonderful because it’s cool. It’s also a road to go to school, it’s a lot of things. So now, education in Africa has to find all the ways using for example, the internet. And for sure, this is where assertion like 3air come into the business because connectivity is so important. Connectivity is at the base of all African development. And if you look, for example, in some countries, as a part of the contribution to the GDP, in some countries with internet, it is just huge. I think that now for example, Ivory Coast, it’s something like 20%. It’s very important.
Anita Mlakar: 18:57
Yes. So, I had this question with Markos also, who is a part of our team. And we were also talking about the startups, Ammin. where does someone who has a great idea and wants to become a startup entrepreneur in Africa? Where does he go? Or she?
Ammin Youssouf: 19:18
Good question. She could go in many places. First People have to remember is that Africa, its 54 countries. Imagine that, in Europe, we are just 27. So, it’s the double, we still have to remember this. So, when someone tells you African is different, no, If you look at the map, if you look at the conflicts map, actually, there are less conflicts than 20 years ago. Most of the countries in Africa, everything is okay. It just that you don’t hear about them, but everything is okay. I know, it’s not perfect, but it’s okay.
So, I would say that it depends on what is the domain? And what is the problem you address? For example, because there are tons and it’s 54 countries, so it’s very difficult to spot one country, but for example, for the ease of business, I would say Rwanda. Rwanda is like, super safe. It’s like Switzerland of Africa. I mean, really, it’s super safe. There’s almost no corruption there. Even if you go there, and you travel there, you will see no paper on the ground, it’s super clean, they have decided to be a super clean nation. So, Rwanda is safe for a business after if you want to have the huge potential of business, but huge risk at the same time, you will probably go in Nigeria. Big potential but big risk. You want to be like, “Okay, I’m cool. I want to just grow a business, but I accept the risk, but not that much”. You have plenty of countries. Let’s say for example, Kenya. Kenya would be okay. There are some issues there too but it’s okay. You will go to Ethiopia, there some things to understand there too. Egypt has a fantastic growth at the moment. And as you can hear I’m Francophone, I’m a French speaking person. So, there is all, the French speaking countries in Africa, Senegal is cool. Ivory Coast, a lot of things to do there, too. So, look at Francophone Africa, it’s not bad.
Anita Mlakar: 21:46
Okay. Now, if you are in Africa, also studying a good idea, then there, there are some hubs, right? where you can turn to and to share the idea to develop it.
Ammin Youssouf: 21:58
You have tons of tech hubs across Africa, I think like, it’s hundreds and hundreds of tech hubs, you can take a look at AFI Labs, for example AFI Labs that come, I know that your partner in Ethiopia is part of this. So, you will see a lot of tech hubs all across Africa, some small, some big, some have a lot of attraction as themselves but what is really interesting in Africa is that there is this Ubuntu culture, which is working together supporting each other. So, getting access to people is quite easy. I would say, it’s quite easy to connect with people and people in that space are quite okay to introduce you to people etc. So, you can go really fast in terms of connecting with people after, yes, you have to build your business, you have to build a work, it’s like anywhere in the world. Africa is not that complicated. You can see a lot of countries in the world that they are more complicated than any countries in Africa.
Anita Mlakar: 23:13
So great opportunities waiting in Africa. Ammin, you are most of the time in Europe, or are you a lot in Africa, also?
Ammin Youssouf: 23:23
Those last two years, no. Traveling was complicated. Last time, I was in Morocco as it close the border, I had to run to the airport, and I arrived in Lisbon to get back to Paris. So, it was complicated. So that last two years was complicated, but I work like every day with people in Africa. And connectivity will change a lot of things.
I want to take a moment here. Here’s my personal theory.
Okay. Now, what we can see, for example, in Europe, we can see more and more remote native companies. So, when you’re doing your remote native company, you don’t care if a person is in Paris, or in Marseille or in Tunis, or in South Africa, as long as this person is in the same time zone as you. Okay, so see if this person has connectivity, like being able to work with you on your platform, whatever. He is someone you can hire, and people have to think that’s a major change that they will see in the coming years. It’s millions and millions of talented people coming into the job market. And connectivity will probably create attraction. For example, me, I work now with Africa, and I am like, Okay, I’m trying to find a training for an internship, I can have my training in Nigeria or Ghana, it won’t change anything and so if there’s an opportunity here, and it will probably drive a lot of changes for all of us.
Anita Mlakar: 25:25
Yes, I do absolutely agree because the whole situation has changed a little bit about how we communicate in the last years. It is due to Corona COVID. Or maybe even because this is now somehow more comfortable. I think, also and faster. So, I was just asking you about this, how much you are an African because you have a lot of information, and you are a connection, actually, between investors in Europe and African companies. So, I know that you know the field very well. Maybe just a question. Ammin, where did you get your education?
Ammin Youssouf: 26:10
Oh, actually, I was born in France, in Brittany, actually I was born in France. But I’m originated from the Comoros islands. I know that most people don’t know where it is. So, Google it Comoros islands. That’s one of the tiniest country in Africa. It’s islands close to Madagascar. So, I go often there, I work a lot with them at this moment. You didn’t mention that in the intro about me, but I recently launched TheColo.rs, the TheColo.rs is focusing on perfumery and cosmetics, it’s Natural Product from Africa. And so, I worked on a lot now with the Comoros islands with Morocco. And actually, it is the reason why it’s easy to do that from Paris is that we try to cover English speaking and French speaking countries. And actually, Paris is a very easy to connect with Africans. That sounds weird that you have to remember the size of Africa, sometimes people just forget the size of Africa. The maps that you use it doesn’t reflect the real size of Africa, not at all. And trust me, it’s shorter to go from Dhaka to Paris, than Dhaka to Dar Es Salaam, is going to be more expensive. It’s going to be super expensive. You probably will have to go through Europe to go there.
So actually, when you are here in Paris, you connect a lot with West Africa, East Africa, you can travel, when planes are not very expensive. You can go in Kenya for €600 goes there you go in Morocco for €50, you go there, you take your plane, you go there you do your meetings. That’s it. And after you have all your online activities as we are doing right now. So, it’s okay.
Anita Mlakar: 28:10
Yeah. Ammin about your conference, the last one was in May in 2021, right?
Ammin Youssouf: 28:16
Yes, it was a little bit complicated because of COVID. So, it was online, but it was cool to do something. We had a partnership with artists that time. So, it was amazing to connect with artists in Africa. So, there was this path with the artists and the tech, and we matched those two populations. That was really interesting.
Anita Mlakar: 28:42
Yeah. So, to get back to connectivity, also, in order to do such events online, and in order to be able to follow them also in Africa, this connectivity is really important. So, it may be just this question. Ammin, how do you see this importance also 3air? You said that it’s very important, but what will it bring also, to the companies? how important is this so that they can do business well? And of course, everything else in Africa? How do you see this?
Ammin Youssouf: 29:13
Okay, first, what is very interesting is that now, when people install Internet in Africa, that’s a brand-new technology, of course. So, for example, take a look at Commerce and where it is, when I speak with people they are on the optic fiber. sometimes with some people I am discussing in Africa with they have better connections with people, I have conversation in France. It’s not everywhere, for sure. It’s in the major cities, but that’s a huge progress. If you look like 10 years from now. It has nothing to do we are on another planet, really. And connectivity, we have to remember that connectivity became a right. it’s like access to health or access to food. access to the Internet access to the connectivity is becoming kind of human rights in our society, like say, for example, in French, but I think that for you it’s the same. You cannot even live without access to the internet. It’s complicated. If you want to do your test for the Coronavirus, for example, you have to go online, you want to find a job, you have to go online, if you want to do any paper, you have to go online and that’s the same as happening in Africa even faster. So, I would say that there’s a huge potential connectivity that will accelerate the growth of Africa like never.
If I give you another example, that will probably resonate, and people will understand what I’m talking about. If you have a little bit of historical, issues, think about the history. Let’s talk about for example, India, in agriculture. When they had the Green Revolution in Asia, it was with tractors, with mechanical tools. When we are talking about Green Revolution in Africa, we are talking about drones, we are talking about blockchain. We are talking about traceability, we are talking about that kind of things. Just imagine the potential growth of that. It’s mind blowing. if you really think about it, you’re like, wow, that’s going to be huge.
So, six or five years ago, it was very strange when I talk about this with people about Africa, they were like, “Ha-ha, Africa, are you kidding with me?” I said, Okay, nice. But now look at the numbers. For example, I will give an example of Kenya. Do you know that for mobile money, its half of the GDP of the country going from mobile money. That’s huge. If you compare with French. We are on another planet and I’m talking about Kenya, but you go in Ghana, that is even bigger. So, something is happening and accelerating, and I think that 3air and what Sandi is doing is definitely going the right way. I hope you will have a lot of success, Sandi. And I’m sure you will have a lot of success and yes, people can invest into that, start to invest. And I think that yeah, you might have something good at the end. Probably!
Sandi Bitenc: 33:14
Thank you. Yeah, I’m also pretty sure we have a lot to give, and that will be really successful. There was one question, and I don’t want to put you totally to the spot, but the question was, What will your future role be in 3air? What will your future be in 3air? so I’m not putting you on the spot. So, Ammin has been invited to speak a bit on our AMA. He knows the space really well and I’m pretty sure that we’ll make some arrangements afterwards a bit in in the backend and I don’t know, maybe there’s a possibility of advisory role or something like that.
Ammin Youssouf: 34:23
Thank you but I think that, because actually the question about 3air in Comoros Island. If you know, now, connectivity is better, because there is a cable coming from the region of Saudi Arabia and it goes all there but there are still a lot of needs in a rural spaces. And there is appetite in Africa. We have a young population. We have a very young population, the youngest population on there. And the big difference you can see with all the continents, which is just to say that if you look, for example, in Germany, I hope that there are no Germans here, but it is not a criticism. I just say that if you have an older population, their life is behind them. It is still there, I know, I’m not so young but it’s still there but when you have young people, they are more like, their mindset is to invent, to progress, to create, to do all those things. And I remember when I was in Comoros Island a few years ago, I remember that sometimes if you go to the post office, you could see in the back of the building at night, you could see a lot of lights, like “What is it”, I saw, maybe 50 or 60, kids, with mobile, with laptop, just sitting there to connect with the Wi-Fi of the building. They were just there in the grass, like just trying to do whatever they can to connect because it’s open so many opportunities in this appetite, this hunger for connectivity in Africa, especially in the young population, it’s here, no doubt, you just have to go in Africa, you travel a little bit and you will see that most of people sometimes, There are the development agency. Sometimes they go to villages, what do you need? Do you need me to do I don’t know, to dig a hole and get some water here? they are like “No, I need units to connect with my mobile phone, this is what I need. Just give me this and it’s going to be okay”. So, it’s really interesting if you travel, you will see that concretely.
Sandi Bitenc: 37:06
Yeah, that’s true. And about the population, it’s actually getting younger, while the whole world is getting older, population in Africa is getting younger. And I think that there is an estimation that by the end of the decade, or even before the average will be below 25 years. So yeah, really a lot of potential there and there’s also another thing in regards to adopting new technologies and everything is not only that the population is younger, that’s for sure one big thing, but it’s also that they need it.
So in in Europe, we have all our bank accounts and the credit cards and everything and for us, it’s probably not a big game changer now, having crypto wallets and being able to send money, or abroad or something like that, but in Africa, there’s still a lot of people that are lacking, they’re not on bank and they’re not banked and so on. So, I think, this now, the new technologies in regards also to blockchain and crypto provides such a huge opportunity that it makes a really big, big difference and everybody is jumping on it right now. And for sure, faster, and I’m pretty sure that Africa will develop in faster than the rest of the world in regards to new technology just because they need it more than we need it in the developed world.
Ammin Youssouf: 38:51
Yeah, definitely. People in Africa and their uses of technology are very attached to the value, that it bring me value to my life, whether to feed my kids or to provide health or education. So, this creativity is very attached to it that if you see a farmer in the remote areas, there is a conversation, which is huge about financial inclusion. If you want to do the financial inclusion, you need financial services and how do you get access to financial services? you can do this with SMS, it works. We have been able to do that too. But definitely the easiest way is to do with an internet access. So, if you look at Africa50 it’s a huge firm, reasonably huge firm that is based in Morocco. It’s a firm that has been launched by African countries by African Union. That’s why it’s Africa50, because there was 50 countries, Participating in this firm. And their focus is on infrastructure and when we worked with them, and we had a sourcing of startups in Africa, and their focus was on connectivity startups, that was the main focus, because they know that’s the base of everything.
Sandi Bitenc: 40:35
It’s kind of, what you actually need to scale everything else because right now everything is global, it doesn’t make sense, so much to be able to do business with your neighbor because we are way ahead of that. So, you need to be able to do business globally and for that you need connectivity, it’s no way that you can do it any other way right now, everything else will be impossible or if it’s possible, it’s just going to be way too slow.
Ammin Youssouf: 41:09
And its job creation. I want to give you just a quick example because I love that story. Because I was in a panel like that. I think it was in May, when we did our event in May, there was this journalist from the US and she said something very interesting because it was pandemic and she said something like, Okay, I know a couple of people in the US African Americans, and they were looking for a teacher for their kids. Okay, we need a teacher for kids. That’s pretty expensive in the US, education is expensive in the US. So, they’re like, “Okay, where can we find a teacher? As she ended up finding a teacher in Kenya, a very good teacher, a university teacher, I mean, like, something you cannot afford here. So, it was a very good teacher and at the same time, they were like, super happy because they were like, Oh, cool. And at the same time, as African Americans, we connect with the continent.
Sandi Bitenc: 42:24
Yeah, and I think that the, no, I don’t know if I’m off the line but for instance, Petra is right now learning some new languages and she’s using a platform that connects globally tutors, and she is using it actually right now. And I think that she has some tutor from Morocco. I think, I am not pretty sure, but I think so. So yeah, it’s really easy.
Ammin Youssouf: 42:59
My connection dropped, if it happens again, I will switch to my mobile phone, we don’t have this in Africa.
Anita Mlakar: 43:17
You need 3air in Paris.
Sandi Bitenc: 43:24
I think it happened again, right?
Anita Mlakar: 43:26
Yeah, I think he will go on his phone. So yeah. Very interesting point of view, also from Ammin, because he has really has a lot of information about everything that is going on in Africa. And talking about connectivity in this way and especially he’s doing online conference, connecting Africa to Europe. So, it’s really important that it works.
Okay, let’s see if he is here, he’s not. Just a minute. Ammin?
Sandi Bitenc: 44:00
I think he will rejoin. He’ll rejoin, no worries. I still have some questions for him.
Anita Mlakar: 44:08
Sandi, did you check little questions? because we will have to give 1000 tokens at the end.
Sandi Bitenc: 44:18
Not really, I see a lot of questions coming in. But I was really trying to listen what Ammin was saying.
Anita Mlakar: 44:25
Yeah, me too.
Sandi Bitenc: 44:28
I cannot do two things. You should be able to do many more things. I’m a man I have an excuse that I cannot do it.
Anita Mlakar: 44:35
Yeah, you have an excuse. I am doing that. When I am talking, I’m listening. I’m also checking questions but just in order to really understand the question, I have to really read it.
Ammin Youssouf: 44:53
I’m sorry, I had connectivity issues, in Paris. So, there is still work to do here.
Sandi Bitenc: 45:00
Yeah, we also get some issues. Anita had some issues in the beginning your connection looks quite stable right now.
Anita Mlakar: 45:12
My connection is great now because I’m on cable.
Sandi Bitenc: 45:17
Here in my building usually we get quite okay internet but it’s sometimes also if everybody jumps on it because it’s a high building a lot of people on. It can be also quite slow. So, we know this and the developing countries, it’s not only there, but you said before, no, there are some fiber cables and so on. And Africa is actually pretty well connected globally with all the other continents with the undersea cables, and they actually also penetrate quite well into the continent but usually they stopped before the big cities. So, then the last mile distribution is the one that it’s problematic. So, we’ve been in Ethiopia, they have some cable there but it’s really not a lot. And Nigeria, I looked up the statistics for Nigeria, in broadband, there is actually 0.04%.
So there the mobile connections are getting a bit better but even those are not totally stable. And as you said, the story that you told with kids will be going out at night and trying to connect to a Wi Fi from a building and so on. I think this should not happen. And you’re right, internet should be a or is a basic human rights. I’m also thinking about, how many talent is actually wasted in Africa, just because there is no connectivity there that could bring them the education that’s needed. So that they can build out their talent and I’m pretty sure we missed a few, let’s say Nobel Prize winners, probably from Africa, just because they didn’t have the connectivity there and that’s actually not a loss for Africa. It’s a loss for the whole world.
Ammin Youssouf: 47:15
Yeah, I totally agree with you. It’s true that if you look at the connectivity map. First, it’s not everywhere, that is great. It’s growing fast but we are starting so low, there’s a huge potential. So, the costs are quite well calculated all the cables are around but if you go into the land, it’s becoming difficult. So, you have a lot of areas, again, where it’s just still so much to do, to achieve, in terms of connectivity, and the last mile is definitely an issue. So yes, there is an end, and of course, the price of the connectivity. Right now, that is the main issue.
It’s not just that it’s not available, but when it’s available, you have to remember the medium wages of people. And you have to think when you launch, I just say that maybe there are some entrepreneurs here listening to us, you have to really think about what is your pricing when you arrive in Africa, when you launch a service. Let’s say for example, here in France, or in Western countries, we all have a salary at the end of the month or the end of the week. Okay? Clear. In many places in Africa, you have your salary, the day and the other day is another salary. So, your money that you have, it’s money that you make that day, and that this is when you will connect when you will buy milk to your kids, when you do whatever you have to do for that day and next day you do that again. So, access to internet takes a huge part of the revenue of people, especially when you want to, like any parents, you want to give access to your kids to the internet because of school because of education that is becoming a big budget for people. So, if there’s a way to reduce this amount, this cost for people it will just accelerate access, development, and a lot of things.
Sandi Bitenc: 50:06
Yeah. I actually also read that it can take up to 30 or 35% of the monthly income for a household to actually get internet. So that’s not really sustainable and it really bothers me also that the price of internet is 3x higher in Africa and then in Europe. And there’s a lot of market manipulation going on there, mostly, really, the big players in that are providing some internet, now have the monopoly there, and they’re keeping high prices and even for us was really hard to go lower, or it’s almost impossible to go lowering prices, just because the competition is so strong, that then we get our own problems. So, this is this is for sure what we need, we need definitely more companies coming to Africa and providing connectivity, because then prices can drop but even buying the internet from the backbone is more than double than it is in Europe, at least more than double. So that’s also why? exactly why is just everybody is trying to take advantage of the current situation in Africa, it seems like this is just not enough competition there.
Ammin Youssouf: 51:43
But if you see at the growth trajectory of some countries, the countries that have the lowest prices, with internet, the better access to people, as they grow faster. You look at Rwanda, Rwanda is growing, growth every year, like boom! it’s because they have decided to make internet connectivity a priority. If you don’t do that, you just lower your development as a country. I think it would change with the new generations of policymakers. We still have in some countries, quite old people not familiar with the internet, and so benefit because they don’t even practice themselves but now with the younger generation coming in power, we can see that we have new politicians coming with diverse backgrounds, sometimes they have the schools in the US or in Europe or even in Africa a lot of times, they are now like convinced of the importance of giving access to the maximum of people to the internet for the growth of their country.
Sandi Bitenc: 53:08
Yeah, you’re totally right. The lower the cost of internet that the higher the growth and the faster growth, that’s really good observation.
Anita, I think we need to slowly close our AMA, I think Ammin, you’re the guest that we had on longest.
Ammin Youssouf: 53:30
I am sorry, it was too much.
Sandi Bitenc: 53:30
No, it was perfect, it was really good, really nice. We loved it.
Anita Mlakar: 53:39
It was really inspiring. It was really great to have the ins look in the situation. Just another maybe. Ammin, just another question. When is the next Afrobytes coming up this year?
Ammin Youssouf: 53:54
Okay, so, at the end of next week, we will have the class which will be for cosmetic and perfumery first. And as for next time, I think it’s going to be mid-June. We haven’t decided, I think in the mid-June on June 14. We will have in terms of program. The first part of it will be about policymaking, digital rights, that kind of things, the privacy, the data, and so and so on. and in the after June, I think it’s going to be mostly FinTech and crypto.
Anita Mlakar: 54:45
Okay, yeah. That’s interesting subject, right Sandi?
Sandi Bitenc: 54:50
Ammin Youssouf: 54:51
It’s going to be mainly this and because I think that the opposite, we have with Afrobytes is it’s to connect. We try because when I look at the crypto space, when you’re not familiar with that space, you’re like, “what’s those guys are talking about? I don’t get it the tokens with numbers” and like, “Oh, what is this? I get to go on platform”. So we try to illustrate the use in life in concrete business cases so people can understand and see the value, not just because they are geeks and they have their languages that is opaque for a lot of people but we try to make it more understandable and digestible for people, and especially for the policymakers because sometimes the policymakers, they’re like, Okay, yes, it’s crypto, blah, blah, blah, and you have someone coming and talking in a way people cannot understand if you are not in the business.
So, we try to see for example, in the perfumery and cosmetic industry, we are exploring, the blockchain, with the traceability because traceability for cosmetics is very important but we try to say, Okay, it’s we don’t really care about what is the blockchain? Okay, that’s the developer stuff. Okay. But what does it means concretely, for people? Most of the people, they don’t need to know the line of codes and what is behind? They need to know how can I use this? This is what is important. How can I use this? And after the discussion on platform, it’s for the developers. That’s another very interesting one but that’s another conversation.
Sandi Bitenc: 56:56
I think the breakthrough will actually be when people don’t even know that they’re using Blockchain, they’ll just love it and that’s it.
Ammin Youssouf: 57:04
Exactly! We don’t need to, to, I often give this example of Steve Jobs. When he just say to people on set, it works. That’s it. You don’t need to know how many components I have, and the power and blah, blah, blah, and the chips. No, you don’t need to do that. You need to know that it works. It will improve your life. That’s it, just test it and that’s it. And I think that we could gain more traction in the crypto space and blockchain space if we could use that kind of language.
Sandi Bitenc: 57:52
Yeah, but we need a bit more time for the development. It’s the same as it was with the internet in the first place and we need more time to develop just better apps and everything and then everything will be integrated in the backend, and you just won’t know, and you won’t even know you’re using Blockchain.
Ammin Youssouf: 58:12
Anita Mlakar: 58:15
Great. Thank you. Ammin. This is a great closure, It works. And we are working on it. So, thank you very much for being with us. I love your TheColo.rs By the way, I was checking it out and it’s great. So go for it. And let us know when the conference is on. Of course, we will stay in contact.
Ammin Youssouf: 58:36
For sure and thank you for all the audience and you have my name, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. I will accept and we can continue the conversations.
Anita Mlakar: 58:50
Thank you very much for being with us.
Ammin Youssouf: 58:52
Thank you. Bye.
Sandi Bitenc: 58:53
Anita Mlakar: 58:54
Thank you Ammin.
Sandi, we have to end up this great AMA. There are so many questions also for you today. I don’t know if you were checking them out a lot of questions coming in, because I think there are some newcomers in our community and have some questions. Of course, you’re answering also to those questions in the community but since AMA is the opportunity to get some answers, there will be the next time of course, a chance to answer those questions.
Sandi Bitenc: 59:27
Yeah. Let’s see. We can maybe go a bit over an hour today and answer a few of those. Maybe there are some that haven’t been answered before. I answered a lot of questions yesterday on Twitter spaces, I was there at RealFI and Subcritical TV. So, you can go and listen to that one. You can also listen, so the previous AMA was just about questions and answers. So, there’s a lot of questions that have been answered there. So maybe watch the previous episodes but we at least need to pick one question. All right.
Anita Mlakar: 1:00:19
Yeah, I did find one. Hunter Johnny had a lot of questions today. And one of those questions was, look, I’m very concerned about security. So, I want to know about a security team that can confidently handle hackers.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:00:37
Yeah, so in our team, we have two guys that are certified white hackers. So, they know they’ve been working on security for four years, I don’t know exactly how many years, but we can bring them on the AMA once. And we are working also together with IT team global and they’re all into security. So, it’s for us, it’s really important and in regards to the smart contracts that will deployable will audit all the smart contracts. So, with a reputable audit company. And yeah, this is on our minds for sure and we’ll take a lot of time and efforts to provide a secure apps as possible.
Anita Mlakar: 1:01:39
There is just another one little technical, is it possible to connect more than one house with just a 3air router in order for them to divide the cost to three or four? In order to be more affordable?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:01:55
Yeah, we do have a few of those options. So, we usually just mount one transceiver on a multi-tenant building. So, they can share the connection there in that regard. But usually, they also connect to different routers, but we have our sharing economy worked out also. So, there will be possibilities to do that.
Anita Mlakar: 1:02:25
Okay, Sandi, will you answer some more?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:02:29
If you found some really cool questions, then we can do it but what I want to do is, main team flew into Seattle only today. And just before the show, they sent me this [video playing] they didn’t want to talk anything, but they just filmed it a bit. So, this is right now almost live. So, one hour ago in Freetown, Sierra Leone and I think we’ll get a lot of video material now during the next days from there. And you’ll be able to see how our offices look like and a bit of the equipment and the bit of the team there locally and so on.
Anita Mlakar: 1:03:27
Okay, can I ask you just another question is How was yesterday’s AMA on real feed, Twitter space?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:03:33
Yeah, that was, I told you. It was really nice. I was actually surprised, and I think we need to do our own Twitter space. What do you think should we do it?
Anita Mlakar: 1:03:42
I just wanted to ask you because you said this was a new experience for you that what I wanted to know if it was so good?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:03:51
Yeah, I really liked it. What’s really good is that you can actually talk to the audience here you have the comments, and then you read the comments but there you are the speaker and other viewers, or listeners can actually also come in and ask questions, but there is no video, so everything is audio. And I think, we could do it on Discord. I think Discord has such an option and we can also do it on Twitter. So, I would actually like to do it on Twitter now in the next days. So, are you up for it?
Anita Mlakar: 1:04:29
You’re asking me? all right. Or you asking them?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:04:32
I am asking everybody. You are also. I cannot do it without you.
Anita Mlakar: 1:04:37
Yes, you can but It won’t be so good (I am joking).
Sandi Bitenc: 1:04:40
Exactly. No, you’re totally right there. No, I wouldn’t be long without you are here.
Anita Mlakar: 1:04:47
Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
Sandi, now we said we will reward the best question but was that a question for Ammin or in all together?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:04:57
You actually, I think you scrolled through it. So did you find any I didn’t scroll through it.
Anita Mlakar: 1:05:06
yes, if we want to reward the question that was for Ammin, and then I did make a decision who maybe should get the reward?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:05:17
No, it does need to be a question to Ammin. So, it can be any and maybe just the question that you chose the first, let’s give it to the one that asked the question that you chose first.
Anita Mlakar: 1:05:38
Now you put me in a weird position. Now, there are a lot of good questions here also, but I did pick the one that was for Ammin, but I didn’t say who it gets to. So, we can still change it. If you want to.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:05:52
Ammin then needs to answer it also.
Anita Mlakar: 1:05:56
Just a minute. I think he did answer it.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:05:59
He did answer. Okay. If he answered it, just a minute. Just let me check.
Anita Mlakar: 1:06:03
Now I have to find it again but there are more questions from- should I say who he is? Itinerantur Bosniacus.
Okay, but he got it last weekend.
Okay, then. you see, then he’s not but a lot of questions came in today from what we just had the last one just a minute. We’re just answering the questions from him. And there were a lot of good questions from him. Just a minute, I’m sorry. Yes, Hunter Johnny. He was the one asking about the security and more questions. So maybe he should be the one getting the 1000 tokens. What do you think?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:06:54
Yes, I agree. Okay, so Hunter Johnny, you should give us one way to contact you, you should write it in the chat. Either a discord or a Twitter handle something that’s not too personal that you can share but you should put it in the chat right now. So that we can contact you.
Anita Mlakar: 1:07:18
And congratulations for 1000 tokens.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:07:21
Anita Mlakar: 1:07:24
Okay, just a minute. Richard is saying congratulations, I thought we got the address/the handle. So, we will just wait a couple more seconds to get this information. So, I think Sandi, it was a very interesting subject today, a very interesting conversation with Ammin. And he know what he does, I’ve also read that he’s consulting, advising clients about the African tech scene. And there are really some big names among those clients like Facebook, and I didn’t remember them all, but really great clients. So, he has the information, a lot of information that could be useful, also for 3air, so it’s nice.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:08:11
I will speak to him a bit more right now. And yeah, he’s actually very good friends with Hilina and Markos that we also had already on our call. So, there’s a lot of connections to him, and we are speaking quite a lot. we’ll try and make it official also but if not, it’s also going on unofficially.
So, another thing, I already have the guest for next week.
Anita Mlakar: 1:08:47
You do? So, will you tell us more about it?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:08:53
why not? I got him, confirmed. So, he’s one of our advisors. It’s the one that’s- I can say pretty much probably the most active one for us right now. And that’s Oliver von Wolff and he is the managing director of CV labs, Dubai and in the space for a long, long time and also really, really active in Africa. Lots of connections. So, it’s going to be also an interesting ama next week.
Anita Mlakar: 1:09:22
Oh, looking forward to that. So, Sandi, we are almost 10 minutes past hour. Maybe we should do the closure, we still don’t have the information about the rewarding. We need the handle, right?
Sandi Bitenc: 1:09:45
We’ll look it up afterwards. So now I saw that the chat is getting stored on our YouTube channel and there’s also the possibility then for him to write us his handle afterwards.
Anita Mlakar: 1:10:09
Look, we need an AMA with Charles Hoskinson (Question).
Sandi Bitenc: 1:10:13
Yeah, let’s see if that happens. The second part of his gift today. You remember we got him the Kurent mask?
Anita Mlakar: 1:10:26
Sandi Bitenc: 1:10:28
He gets the whole costume with the bells and the spikes and all.
Anita Mlakar: 1:10:33
really? that’s great.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:10:38
Yeah, early next week latest.
Anita Mlakar: 1:10:41
We, in Slovenia know how important and what a big honor it is to have this mask, the whole costume. This is really important because not everybody can get it and not everybody can be Kurent. And that is amazing. So yeah, so maybe it will be an AMA once with him also, in the mask.
Okay, Sandi, thank you for being with us today and answering all the questions. Have a great evening and thanks to all of you for being with us. Of course. Stay tuned. Stay involved in communities on Telegram, Twitter and discord and looking forward to the next AMA Wednesday, 5pm Central European Time with our interesting guests.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:11:31
We forgot to do the 3.
Sandi Bitenc: 1:11:34
Anita Mlakar: 1:11:36