Building In Emerging Markets With Emerging Technology: Valuable Insights From Digital Twin Labs Founder — Gurvinder Singh Ahluwalia

Adaverse Accelerator
6 min readJun 19, 2023

‘Emerging technologies are not a revolution but an evolution’ — Gurvinder

Africa, a dynamic continent with 54 countries, is currently experiencing a digital transformation which is largely driven by mobile technology. With a young and growing population of about 1.3 billion, a vast natural resource base, and a rapidly expanding middle-class Africa’s working-age population is expected to grow by 450 million people, or close to 70 per cent, by 2035. This demographic shift signifies a remarkable market of eager consumers and visionary entrepreneurs reshaping the demand landscape, spurring an insatiable quest for cutting-edge technologies that bridge the gap between developing and developed economies.

In this podcast, we had the privilege of engaging in a captivating conversation with Gurvinder Singh Ahluwalia, a prominent figure in the tech ecosystem and a visionary leader driving the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. With an illustrious career as the former Field CTO at IBM and current roles as an advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Co-founder of Hyperledger, IBM Blockchain, and CEO of Digital Twin Labs, USA, Gurvinder brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the discussion.

🎙️Tune in to BuildUp Africa S1E10 on your favourite podcast platform

Unlocking the Potential of Emerging Markets with Innovative Technologies

Emerging markets, encompassing over 80% of the global population, are experiencing an era of dynamic growth fueled by urbanization, rising incomes, and improved access to technology. These vibrant economies primarily span regions like Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. While these markets face significant challenges such as poverty, inequality, and corruption, they also offer abundant opportunities for businesses to thrive. The sheer size of their population and expanding economies create an immense market for goods and services, while the unique obstacles they encounter fuel the development of innovative solutions, including the adoption of transformative technologies like blockchain.

In the midst of this landscape, Africa is undergoing a remarkable digital revolution, with emerging technologies assuming a pivotal role. This digital transformation opens up unprecedented possibilities for businesses, granting access to new opportunities and facilitating the resolution of critical challenges. Imagine a world where universal access to financial services transcends geographical and income barriers, where resource-strapped farmers achieve remarkable yields with minimal water usage, where early and precise disease diagnosis revolutionizes healthcare, and where knowledge becomes universally accessible, regardless of background. These are the possibilities that emerging technologies are bringing to fruition.

Here are some of the key points discussed in our podcast with Gurvinder Singh Ahluwalia:

Emerging Technologies: Evolution of Solutions

Emerging technologies are not a revolution but an evolution. They are the combination of a certain set of technologies that have existed for decades, but which have now been brought together in new and innovative ways. For example, #blockchain can be used to create secure and transparent records, which can help to reduce corruption in government and businesses. #IoT can be used to collect data and improve efficiency in agriculture, healthcare, and other sectors. And artificial intelligence can be used to develop new products and services that meet the needs of local customers.

Navigating Challenges in the Adoption of Emerging Technologies

Gurvinder, in our engaging podcast conversation, also highlighted that while emerging technologies present numerous opportunities for emerging markets, they also come with their fair share of challenges. These challenges require careful consideration and proactive measures to ensure successful adoption and implementation. Some of the key challenges discussed include:

  1. Infrastructure: The lack of robust infrastructure poses a significant hurdle in emerging markets. Insufficient access to reliable electricity, broadband internet, and a shortage of skilled professionals can hinder the effective adoption of emerging technologies, requiring substantial investments and development efforts.
  2. Cultural Factors: Cultural dynamics within emerging markets can create resistance to change, impeding the widespread adoption of new technologies. Understanding and navigating these cultural nuances is essential for the successful implementation and acceptance of emerging technologies.
  3. Regulatory Complexity: Complex and evolving regulatory environments can pose challenges for businesses seeking to embrace emerging technologies in emerging markets. Striking a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks is crucial for facilitating their smooth integration.

Opportunities Not Obstacles

Despite these challenges, there are a number of opportunities for businesses in emerging markets to revolutionize industries, uplift the lives of their customers, and spearhead transformative change in the global economic landscape.

  1. Large Populations: Emerging markets boast expansive populations eagerly embracing new technologies. This provides a vast potential market for businesses pioneering and implementing these transformative technologies, enabling them to cater to the evolving needs and aspirations of a burgeoning consumer base.
  2. Rapid Economic Growth: The resolute rise of emerging markets is fueled by accelerated economic growth. This robust economic environment empowers businesses to allocate resources towards the development and advancement of emerging technologies, fostering innovation and bolstering market competitiveness.
  3. Government Support: Many governments in emerging markets demonstrate a palpable commitment to facilitating the adoption of emerging technologies. Their supportive stance lays the foundation for businesses to navigate regulatory landscapes, receive strategic guidance, and access vital resources necessary for successful technology integration.

While explaining possibilities, Gurvinda shared some of the various ways technology is shaping these emerging economies

  • In Kenya, M-Pesa is a mobile money service that has revolutionized the way people access financial services.
  • In India, the government is using IoT to monitor agricultural crops and improve crop yields. IoT sensors are being used to collect data on soil moisture, temperature, and rainfall. This data is then used to provide farmers with advice on how to improve their crops.
  • In Brazil, the government is using blockchain to track the movement of goods through the supply chain. This is helping to reduce corruption and improve transparency in the supply chain.

Emerging Technologies in Africa

In Africa, the transformative power of emerging technologies holds immense promise across various spheres. Blockchain in particular has gained significant traction in Africa, especially in remittances powering secure, cost-effective, and efficient cross-border transactions; likewise, crypto is used as a hedge against inflation to protect wealth.

Here are some more ways in which these technologies can make a profound impact on African economic development:

  1. Enhanced Productivity: By leveraging emerging technologies, businesses can automate tasks and processes, fostering heightened productivity. This heightened efficiency equips businesses to compete more effectively on the global stage, bolstering Africa’s economic prowess.
  2. Streamlined Operations: Emerging technologies empower businesses to streamline operations, and improve transparency, resulting in improved efficiency and cost reduction. This liberated capital can then be redirected towards strategic investments in growth and innovation, fortifying Africa’s position as a hub for dynamic economic expansion.
  3. Job Creation: The advent of emerging technologies ushers in a wave of new job opportunities, spanning diverse sectors such as information technology, manufacturing, and healthcare. This surge in employment not only combats unemployment but also alleviates poverty, nurturing sustainable economic development within emerging markets.
  4. Expanded Access to Services: Emerging technologies act as catalysts for improved accessibility to vital services like education, healthcare, and financial inclusion. By bridging gaps and overcoming barriers, these technologies elevate the quality of life for individuals residing in emerging markets, fostering social and economic progress.

Future of emerging markets.

Gurvinda is optimistic about the future of emerging markets, he believes that the opportunities offered by emerging technologies are great and can overcome the challenges. “With the help of emerging technologies, these countries have the potential to achieve economic growth, improve standards of living, and reduce poverty,” he said. “It is an exciting time to be alive, and I am excited to see what the future holds for emerging markets.”

Beyond these highlights, our engaging 45-minute podcast delves into the intricacies of building and deploying cutting-edge technology in emerging markets with the transformative power of emerging technologies and their profound impact on economic growth, livelihood improvement, and societal equity.

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Listen in to this session as we unravel the layers of fascinating landscapes, unique use cases, illuminating the role of technology in shaping vibrant economies and fostering a more prosperous world.

This is a quick overview of BuildUp Africa S1E10. A podcast brought to you by Adaverse in which we explore the rapidly developing African Tech landscape with a focus on web3 entrepreneurship in investing.

BuildUp Africa is available on Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google podcast, Castbox, RadioPublic etc

Start listening here: BUA S1E10

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Adaverse Accelerator

Adaverse is a Cardano Ecosystem Accelerator that aggregates entrepreneurs, strategists and mentors building its most robust foundation in Africa.