Big City, Big Dream. Creating Silicon Maseru in Lesotho

Big City, Big Dream. Creating Silicon Maseru in Lesotho

Today, Silicon Valley is at a position where it is seen as a rich ecosystem where anyone with an idea can show up. This is because people there could essentially sit in a coffee shop and build a business team, get some money, and launch their business almost instantly. For startups and growth-stage businesses, it can be quite simple to do a lot of good for mankind thanks to accelerators like Y-Combinator (4,294 investments completed) and Sequoia Capital (1,638 investments completed), both of which have head offices in the Valley.

The Silicon Valley is proof that there were passionate and skilled individuals willing to make sacrifices in order to establish enduring legacies in organizations and the corporate world. It is evident that knowledge is at the center of all truly lasting achievements and the Valley is not an exception.

To generate the momentum that gives rise to the desired narratives in the space of the region, Africa must purposefully establish, capitalize on, and maintain the same. The public sector has the potential to benefit from increased efficiency, transparency, and service delivery thanks to digital technology, yet government efforts in this area seem disjointed and slowly progressing. The UN’s global e-Government Development Index places Lesotho among Africa’s worst performers (EDGI).

Particularly in terms of Internet/mobile platform knowledge and the sustainability of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects, institutional preparation for digital platforms is lacking. But with the lesson learnt from other African cities like Cape Town (Silicon Cape), creating Silicon Maseru in Lesotho is not impossible.

Maseru’s Ecosystem

Despite making up only 17% of Lesotho’s population, the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics claims that Maseru contributed roughly 50% of the country’s GDP. The result represents a substantial disparity in GDP per capita between Maseru and the rest of the country of roughly 60%.

With a 57% contribution, the services sector leads Maseru’s economy, while the manufacturing sector contributed 278.8%. Due to the interruption in demand and supply brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic, several of Maseru’s sectors experienced negative growth.

Silicon Maseru

Further research revealed that between 2016 and 2020, Maseru’s GDP per capita of $3,470 was on average five times greater than that of the rest of the nation ($687) and three times greater than the national average of $1,149. This illustrates the city’s excellent living standards when compared to those in other regions of the nation.

In general, three major submarine cables connect Lesotho to the area through South Africa. The 3G network almost completely covers the country, and mobile usage is common. Only 37% of the population has an active mobile broadband subscription, and the costs are expensive, the survey reveals, which limits the use of the Internet, even mobile Internet.

Building Silicon Maseru

In Silicon Maseru, like other significant cities in Southern Africa, there is the opportunity to embrace and benefit from the digital economy. However, there are certain requirements for it to be successful. These include infrastructure that is dependable and economical, payment-related legal and regulatory frameworks, access to financial products, and the ability to meet the demands of the digital economy.

According to the UN’s global e-Government Development Index, Lesotho is one of Africa’s least developed nations (EDGI). Low levels of institutional preparation for digital platforms exist, notably in terms of project sustainability and knowledge of Internet and mobile platforms. In order to encourage growth among local startups in Maseru, the government must establish the required regulatory framework.

Maseru’s digital services sector is still in its infancy, and initiatives to boost local content, digital government services, and digital literacy could promote the industry’s development. For example, an enterprise hub can serve as an example of an atmosphere where ambitious business owners can thrive. They will have access to crucial business development services from experts in legal and human resource matters to business and financial planning.

In addition to providing much-needed space in the form of offices, conference rooms, and workshops for founders to test their ideas and build prototypes of their upcoming products and services before bringing them to market, the hub will enhance the founders’ expertise through peer-to-peer contact. An enterprise hub can also provide market access and function as a referral hub, connecting startups with clients and possible investors, serving as a center of business excellence and serving as a standard for other cities in Lesotho.