After establishing a footprint, customers may now create, invent, engage, and be part of the greatest wave of progress and opportunity in history, the African Metaverse.
- The African continent remains a center for creative and cultural expression even with different cultures, languages, and customs.
- For its detractors, the African Metaverse is a vague concept that obscures human comprehension of existing technologies.
- Essentially, the African Metaverse is a new frontier for digital innovation, potentially transforming many aspects of society.
Africa remains a center for creative and cultural expression even with different cultures, languages, and customs. The continent has had an increase in the number of startups and tech hubs. As such the region has recently emerged as a hotspot of technological innovation.
The Metaverse represents a virtual reality realm where individuals can engage with digital content in realistic, three-dimensional spaces. This space is an especially intriguing area of technology for Africa. Several facets of African culture, have the potential to undergo radical change due to the Metaverse. These include education, healthcare, entertainment, and business,
Extended reality (XR) technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which combine the digital and physical worlds, will expectedly provide consumers with an immersive experience in the Metaverse, according to analysts.
Hope, despite skepticism concerning the African Metaverse
For its detractors, the African Metaverse is a vague concept that obscures human comprehension of existing technologies. In sub-Saharan Africa, despite huge advancements, only 28 percent of the population will have internet access by the end of 2020, as per GSMA. This reality makes the future characterized by participation in the digital space even farther out of reach.
Nonetheless, technology heavyweights have taken the Metaverse quite seriously. In 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta to reflect its aspirations in the Metaverse. The social media giant also announced 10,000 recruits for a $10 billion division to develop XR gear, software, and content.
Apple’s share price rose 8 percent in January 2022. The rise happened the same day CEO Tim Cook said the company would invest in the concept. Brands, banks, entertainers, and athletes plot their futures in the Metaverse. JPMorgan Bank anticipates that the notion will generate $1 trillion annually.
Rupantar Guha, project manager at GlobalData, has previously stated that it will take time for the Metaverse to grow without clearly defined boundaries. He argues, however, that if the large tech corporations are successful, the Metaverse will represent a new version of the internet in which users will navigate virtual worlds rather than applications and tabs on web browsers.
Experts predict that the concept of the African Metaverse will come to the fore as new hardware technologies enhance the virtual world, such as improvements to graphics, sensors, and visual aids. Users of the Metaverse may build alternative digital identities via avatars and utilize cryptocurrencies to socialize, work, play, and shop.
The rise in digital real estate
The decentralized Metaverse will be constructed using Web 3.0 blockchain technology, a successor to the mobile internet. Financial assets in the form of NFTs will create the cryptocurrency required to construct a digital economy.
Cryptocurrency has fueled a boom in the virtual real estate market, with purchasers snapping digital acreage. In December, using Bitcoin, Barbados purchased digital land in Decentraland, one of the largest Metaverse. Barbados has plans to construct a new embassy on the digital land. Gucci also spent $2.43 million for a piece of virtual real estate to construct a virtual retail shop in 2022.
In Africarare, the continent’s first Metaverse, the artist Norman Catherine has created a range of wearable 3D avatars. The company intends to construct Ubuntuland, a virtual world including communities, art galleries, and animal parks. According to the company, the land will be leased or sold for business meetings, art exhibits, and other events. The realm will be built with architects, programmers, and software engineers.
Ubuntuland’s currency is the $UBUNTU token, constructed on the Ethereum network. After establishing a footprint, customers may now create, invent, engage, and be part of the greatest wave of progress and opportunity in history, the African Metaverse.
There are about 204 642 available parcels of land. The land plots are positioned and priced according to a tiered value structure, and community members own the land, giving users complete control over their creations. In addition to a blockchain confirmation, title documents, and ownership certificates are produced by acquiring digital land.
Designers have designated the main region of Ubuntuland for the gradual delivery of Africarare bespoke experiences. Landowners may modify their area to host stores, generate resources, house NPCs, and build games and other apps.
Opportunities for local brands within the MetaverseThe African Metaverse could also provide a significant opportunity for local brands to advertise themselves. Captive metaverse audiences present a massive opportunity for brands, marketers, and advertisers.
In the future, as customers walk through virtual worlds, brands and buy billboard placements. Over time, the Metaverse could provide new mediums for storytelling. African brands could invest in sophisticated 360-degree videos for specific ad campaigns and create full-scale experiences that allow users to interact with a product and influencers.
The personal information that brands collect could prove enormous. Advertisers gather information from clicks and time on sites, but in the future, they could learn how much time a consumer spends reading a label. Such advancement will indicate whether a customer picked up and touched a particular product while reading biometric data like headset wearers’ facial expressions and eye movements. That raises the question of metaverse regulation to ensure safety, privacy, and standards.
Experts predict self-regulatory actions in emerging metaverse platforms over the next few years. More countries seek to adopt general data protection regulation (GDPR) privacy systems to protect user data from being misused for profit. Thus, regulators will eventually police these platforms.
But for most African users, getting lost in a virtual shopping mall or having a company swipe their biometric data remains the least of their concerns. For all but the most digitally savvy and economically active, accessing this new world anytime soon is unforeseeable.
Evolution of the African Metaverse
The African Metaverse is still in its early stages. Various factors including technological developments, cultural trends, and economic forces will likely shape its evolution. A few key trends are likely to drive the development of the Metaverse in Africa in the coming years.
One of the biggest trends is the growing importance of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. As these technologies become more advanced and accessible, they will likely play an increasingly important role in developing the Metaverse.
Another trend is the rise of social gaming and esports in Africa. These are already popular among young people across the continent, and they are likely to become even more prominent in the coming years as more people gain access to the internet and mobile devices.
As Africa’s population becomes the largest workforce in the world by 2035, big tech firms insist that the Metaverse will gradually open up economic opportunities in Africa, pointing to its relevance to the evolving post-pandemic world of work.
Derya Matras, Meta’s vice president for Turkey, the Middle East, and Africa, says that work in physical offices by project managers, marketers, educators, storytellers, gamers, artists, crypto accountants, architects, and software developers will gradually migrate into the Metaverse.
The broader trends of globalization and digitalization will likely shape the African Metaverse. As more people connect globally through digital technologies, the Metaverse will become an increasingly significant cross-border collaboration and communication platform.
The prospects for value addition
There are several reasons why the African Metaverse is important. First and foremost, it has the potential to democratize access to digital content and services, particularly for people in remote or underserved areas. With the Metaverse in Africa, anyone with a smartphone or computer can access various educational, entertainment, and social experiences, regardless of physical location.
Second, the African Metaverse can serve as a platform for economic development and job creation. The technology will evolve and new use cases will emerge. Consequently, entrepreneurs and developers will get opportunities to build new businesses and applications that leverage the Metaverse. This could create new jobs and stimulate economic growth across the continent.
Finally, the African Metaverse has the potential to foster cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. By bringing people from different parts of the continent together in a shared virtual space, the Metaverse in Africa can help to break down barriers and build bridges between different communities and cultures.
Essentially, the African Metaverse is a new frontier for digital innovation, potentially transforming many aspects of society. Metaverse in Africa can shape the continent’s future by democratizing access to digital content and services, creating new economic opportunities, and fostering cross-cultural understanding.