Bassim Haidar: “Africa is not the easiest place to do business but it’s the most exciting”
World Economic Forum of previous week brought together over 2,500 leaders from business, government, international organizations, civil society, academia, media and the arts, in order to set an agenda that drives greater multistakeholder collaboration to address political, economic and societal challenges of our times. Middle East and Africa meet almost all of those challenges and the region had a strong representation at Davos in every level: public sector, civil societies, arts, academia, banking and finance etc. Totally, there were 118 participants from Africa and 231 from Middle East.
Our Founder and CEO Bassim Haidar, as a businessman with a deep knowledge and experience of the region shared his views about the key role technology plays, creating value for individuals and society in general. During his presence in Davos Mr Haidar gave an interview on CNBC, where he emphasized on the things that are unique in Africa and what makes it an exciting place to do business. “Africa is not the easiest place to do business but it’s the most exciting” Bassim Haidar said, adding that this excitement comes from the way that technology is being embraced from the people. For him technology is not a disruption in Africa, as people were deprived until now. "Technology in Africa is not a disruption. Technology enhances people's life, it gives them access to things they never thought possible". For instance, loans to people who –until now- didn’t have access to the financial system.
Mr Haidar mentioned western world’s ignorance of potentially huge growth areas, as a result that the main criteria of investment is “safety”. In terms of technology, investors feel safe with companies coming from San Francisco and other well-known cities, ignoring technology that is coming from Africa and has really changed people’s life. According to Mr Haidar, smaller private equities which cannot compete with the “big guys” in the developed world, are starting to move into Africa, exploring the opportunities of the region.
Bassim Haidar talked about Channel IT Group, revealing plans of expansion to Latin America.
Connecting the dots
In another interview of Bassim Haidar at Fox Business, our Founder and CEO emphasized on Channel VAS’ big data mining and in what way it makes sense to undeserved people of emerging markets and their economy in general. “The amount of data you can get from “mobile behavior” of the user exceeds what you get from Twitter and other Social Media. What we do is taking that data, making sense out of it in order to provide loans, services, content etc” Mr Haidar said, adding that “one of Channel VAS’ big services is to provide loans to the user in order to go from feature phone to smartphone”. “In countries where there is no electricity can you imagine what it means to the people to be able to interact in the internet via their smartphone?” he wondered.
In his interview, Bassim Haidar added that Channel VAS expects 60% growth this year, estimating that over 600 million users will interact with our platform.
On the occasion of WEF Forum 2018 in Davos Bassim Haidar participated also at a private lunch hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He was among a selected group of business leaders and heads of International Organizations who together with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund discussed investment opportunities in Africa.
Bassim Haidar also had the opportunity for a couple of unofficial selfies that would mark this celebratory occasion.
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