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The Metaverse would change Africa.

November 4, 2021 By Chukky Derrick

The internet has in many ways changed from the static web it was known as and evolved to have many other complex features. Important concept are the syntactic web and other commonly known components. Accessing the internet In Africa has been quite a source of dispute right from time. As studies show that many parts of the continent in relation to people and users are not connected to the internet. Apart from factors such as lack of access to internet enabling tools like smart phones and devices a major factor is lack of technical know-how (though yes most of the population of Africa is young, majority of people still do not fully understand how to operate technological devices and the likes). The teaming youth which are mainly on social media in such cases, haven’t grasped a more grandiose picture of the internet and are still limited to the ‘upload and like’ media craze.

Solving problems in Africa with the Web.  

Though in recent times with lights to the past few years one could say that the internet has come to be a more than socializing platform for African youths in general as activism has been birthed on platforms like Twitter and also to mention, the rise of digital marketing which is a major part of the African market space as many young people utilize these platforms to sell goods and reach their customers. Questions like divisibility, reach and also access to premium services are still issues to be discussed. Taking things to a grander scale such the scale and diffusion of healthcare and education across the continent. There have of course been prospects by African entrepreneurs to solve these problems by the creation of services and businesses like popular drone company Zipline that began a medical campaign and also, Lifebank that delivers blood bags to women with post-partum haemorrhage.

Would the Metaverse Benefit Africa?

On the 28th of October 2021, CEO and founder of the tech giant Facebook announced a rebranding of his company name to ‘Meta’ which means Metaverse in its long form. It’s also important to note that Zuckerberg is not the first person to have an idea of the Metaverse. The term first appeared in a 1992 novel called ‘Snow Crash’ where people in the physical could interact in the virtual with digitally created avatars. In the novel people could escape the dreary and bleak reality and venture to an online world. If you are a movie buff the name Ready Player One should come to mind.

What exactly is the Metaverse?

The Metaverse
Meta | source : CBS news

The term basically means a virtual world where people in the physical can interact only in this case being immersive. With the power of special ‘Smartglasses’ people would wear them on and be taken to a digital world. Apart from its tendency to disrupt literally everything we know the metaverse is a ground-breaking feat of the internet marking the birth of the popularly talked about Web 3.0 that comprises of things like thick data, internet of things, blockchain and non fungible tokens. The previous Web or popularly known ‘social web’ was mainly comprised of being interactive where users could create and access one another. Creation of programming languages like JavaScript and Vue.Js made it possible for the static web which is popularly known as Web 1.0 to morph into something more. The static web was basically HTML websites that was mainly just about ‘being online’ at the start of the dotcom boom as many companies just wanted to have their face online, this was the mark of the birth of the internet. 

Scaling in Africa.

The Metaverse
source | Patently Apple

The Metaverse in Africa, this would be an interesting feat. Currently as of the moment the metaverse and its features are restricted to gaming alone. Though features like Horizon Workrooms have been available it is rarely known of in for example where people are just getting accustomed to smartphones, the prospects of VR headsets might just be a little farfetched although if Meta actually finds a way to make it work in Africa the results would be phenomenal.

 Apart from major complaints like ‘being cut off from reality’ as what wearing a VR headset or smartglasses in lights of AR entails this is not so. Look at it from the angle of our smartphones and apps. Social media whether you like it or not is our reality. We work, earn and communicate with family with these platforms and tools. They have become more than just websites and of course there’s no new idea that does not receive scrutiny at its birth. Despite being hooked to our devices we still find a way to make time to interact with family and friends outside our screens

Though there was a time it seemed impossible and was up for debate, the popular dangers of the internet discourse, there’s nothing no matter how cool that does not have a danger for example a new Tesla car would be nice but there’s also the danger of road accidents. We cannot know the problems that would come up with the metaverse until its actually here. It might be drastic or turn out to be one of the best things created by humanity. In Africa it would be of very good advantage in lights of Education and healthcare to name a few. Sport lovers in Africa would be able to view their favourite games more immersively. There could even be ‘VR schools’ created by universities. You could be in a remote village in Zambia and be receiving a lecture in Harvard University, not just on a screen but being there live-in person, well at least virtually but with its birth and when we finally get used to it and accustomed, it could turn out to be even more.

Others like receiving therapy and medical advice virtually are also interesting prospects. The metaverse would bring a new economy to the African market. An interesting demerit though might be in the case of infrastructural developments. When we are transported to an utopian reality then what is the need on working on the present? Hopefully it wouldn’t get to that.

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Africa to Silicon Valley