Facebook is Building Undersea Cable in Africa to Boost Internet Access. What Are You Building?

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Facebook is building a massive 37,000 kilometres undersea cable around Africa so that more of the 1.3 billion Africans can have access to the Internet. The project will span 23 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

A few years ago, you started a business so that you could increase your income opportunities, take better care of your family and be a blessing to those around you.

In 2019, you were pondering how you could break your business out of its current sales limitations and become financially independent. You also wanted to get enough money to take advantage of the many business opportunities around you.

Then the year 2020 happened.

And you did not have a viable online presence. You did not know how to sell online, or how to get customers from online platforms.

Suddenly, all your schoolmates who wore thick rim glasses (or goggles) and ended up working as doctors, engineers or InfoTech professionals seemed like they were smarter than you.

You are not alone.

This is where a lot of entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa have found themselves following the onset of the incredible year 2020.

Also, you have a bigger opportunity to be smarter. An entrepreneur who is willing to learn is an entrepreneur who is willing to embrace explosive growth.

Why should you embrace explosive growth?

So that you can create opportunities for others.

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In Nigeria, a 2014 World Bank Group survey data indicate that 99.6 percent of SMEs have fewer than 10 workers. That was six years ago, but I doubt much has changed since then.

That data is an economic catastrophe. That explains the situation in the job market.

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Nigeria is currently facing its worst recession in four decades, but there are still opportunities available. Especially if you are willing to learn new things.

According to the list of largest Internet companies in the world, Facebook, JD.com, Amazon, Google, and Alibaba employ 1,283, 857 people combined. Just five Internet companies.

The more people you can solve problems for or employ or create business opportunities for, the bigger your rewards.

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I once observed the construction of the current 5th tallest building in Lagos, the Eko Tower II. It took several months (perhaps more than a year) to complete the foundation alone.

What are the foundation requirements for a world-class business?

Do you fancy a world-class business?

Or are you just trying to survive?

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It will pay more entrepreneurs to pay more attention to what is possible online.

What does the Online Space Look Like?

Online, we have platforms such as websites, Social Media, Applications, Forums, and various custom platforms. You can set up your business on any of these using your own content. Content comes in the form of written content, images, video, audio and various interactive media.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, there are over 41.5 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria as of 2017. Due to the lack of current information, let’s assume there are currently over 50 million MSMEs as of 2020.

Worldwide, there are 1.5 billion websites on the world wide web, however, less than 200 million of these are active. This figure covers the 195 countries of the world.

Would you agree with me that there may be less than 500,000 Nigerian businesses that own websites? Let’s assume that Nigeria has 100,000 active websites. This is definitely an assumption.

But you can make some deductions from the fact that sub-Sahara African businesses have a considerably less online presence than businesses in countries such as the USA, Canada, the UK, China, India, Brazil, and countries in the European Union.

However, consider this: a single global e-commerce tool (out of the many that exist), generates the following statistics:

· 128, 900 Users

· 1.32 billion contacts

· USD$6.6 billion processed

Users employ online platforms to achieve the following:

· To generate leads

· To generate sales

· To run an event

The above statistics may not be available for Nigeria specifically, although Nigerian sales are included in the above numbers. However, it gives you an idea of the potential in moving your business online.

Wouldn't you fancy a slice of that USD $6 billion?

Anyone in their right senses would.

You may not be able to move all of your business online, but you may be able to move part of the business online.

Owning an online business ensures that you are not affected by some of the limitations that come with owning just a physical business.

These limitations include:

· Having a customer base only in your immediate location

· Being visible only to those who can come to your place of business, get your brochure or see your billboard.

· Being completely dependent on personal marketing and sales activities.

Perhaps you are spending about N75,000 ($150) a month on a graduate marketing staff, or over N150,000 ($300) a month on experienced marketing staff, you could also spend part of your marketing budget on setting up your online structures.

Owning online structures for your business is no longer an option. It has been something that comes highly recommended by the best business brains for over two decades now.

So if you still do not have an online presence that can generate income, then you need to re-think your business model.

And don’t get me started on the need for you and your team to embrace Digital Transformation.

In Europe and America, the dotcom focus started in the late 90s. Nigeria and the rest of Africa need to promote a serious shift to online business.

Churches and governments need to promote online skills training to their members both for employability and for entrepreneurship growth. This goes way beyond taking Computer Appreciation classes at a nearby Business center in your locality.

Companies such as Facebook, Google, WhatsApp (owned by Facebook), Instagram (also Facebook-owned), and Microsoft (also owns LinkedIn) have entered the African market space with zero competition.

At least in China, they had to contend with Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent,

WeChat and now Zoom.

This explains why we have had focused visits from Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, and Jack Ma. The 33-year old founder of Gokada, Fahim Saleh, who was unfortunately murdered in July 2020, also chose Nigeria as a target location for his business investments.

Despite the rather difficult business environment caused by government regulations, he was in the process of remodelling his business so that his investments would not be totally lost to the recent okada ban in the Lagos metropolis.

Let’s make sure we do not become another 200 million consumers of Internet business services. Let’s make products online. We are already a consumer market for many countries who are providing viable jobs for their citizens through our consumption habits. Let’s think foreign earnings beyond our small oil and gas.

I call Nigeria’s oil and gas small because countries such as Brazil and UAE produce more oil than Nigeria does but it makes up only a fraction of their GDPs.

We need to produce a lot more.

Agriculture is one great opportunity, the other is the Internet. You can also combine both as many AgriTech companies have already done.

In sub-Saharan Africa, owning an online presence, such as a website, for your business gives you the following advantages:

1. You can be found online by the 99.05 million internet users in Nigeria (courtesy of Statista - give or take those who have multiple devices). You can make the most of this opportunity by listing your business and the website on directories, employing digital marketing or by using content marketing to promote your business.

3. A good business online profile will give your customers the opportunity to engage with your business. They can request a quote, book an appointment, make enquiries, or locate your physical address. You can also include a WhatsApp link or your phone number so that they can contact you directly.

4. If you want to have a winning edge over other similar businesses, you should start by owning a website. The better your website looks, the easier it is to navigate, and the more relevant information you can provide, the better. A website that gets traffic and engages your customers will distinguish your business from competitors in your local community.

How will a Website Help My Business?

Besides having an online presence, a website will promote your business offline as well. You can increase this efficiency by using offline/online integration. If you would like to find out more about offline/online integration, contact us for a free business exposure assessment.

Join the Re-position for Explosive Growth Community today to learn how your online presence can help you to:

· Generate Leads

· Save Time

· Promote Your Business

· Expand Your Reach

· Increase Local Exposure

You are invited to join the Doing Business Community if you can identify with any of the following?

1- You want to sell more of your goods or services.

2- You need to know what kind of business development structures you must have so as to reduce your marketing stress, save time, and harness more sales opportunities.

3- You would like to re-position your business as an authority in your market space.

Learn Facebook for Business Success with Stephanie Pius. Click here to attend the first evening with Stephanie FREE and reposition your business now!

Joining the Doing Business Community is FREE and it gives you everything you need to draft your Business Explosion Action Plan. Kindly answer a few questions to help us know how best we can help you grow your business.


Facebook Building Undersea Cable

Nigeria faces worse Economic Recession in Four Decades (World Bank Group)

List of largest Internet companies in the world

2014 World Bank Group Survey Data Hsieh and Olken 2014, p93

Tallest buildings in Lagos

List of countries by oil production