Shogo Ishida, CEO of Emurgo in Africa, sat down for an insightful Q&A session, where he shed light on his company’s significant investments in Africa and the Americas, as well as its involvement in the Cardano blockchain project. 

Here we explore Ishida’s insights into the world of blockchain, crypto, and his outlook on the crypto landscape in Africa.

Emurgo’s journey in Africa

Since 2021, Emurgo in Africa has been on a mission to foster innovation and investment in the African continent. It established a $100million investment vehicle and has already completed more than 50 investments in the past two years. These investments primarily target African startups and Web3 companies, indicating a significant commitment to fostering tech-driven advancements in the region.

Furthermore, Emurgo is one of the founding members and the official commercial entity for the Cardano blockchain. Its involvement with this pioneering blockchain technology underlines a dedication to blockchain innovation.

Dubai as a hub

Ishida is based in Dubai but frequently travels to Africa for extended periods, typically two to three months at a time. His journey in Dubai began in 2005 when he was working for the Japanese government. His initial posting in the Consulate General of Dubai marked the start of a long-standing connection with the city, allowing him to witness Dubai’s extraordinary growth.

Emurgo’s future plans

In the next two to three years, Emurgo intends to intensify its investments in African startups and Web3 companies. Its approach is distinctive, focusing on aiding existing businesses in migrating to web three technologies rather than creating new companies from scratch. This strategy involves helping companies implement solutions like digital identity and micro-lending platforms on the blockchain. The goal is to add value to traditional businesses and promote their transition into the evolving web three ecosystem.

Navigating regulatory challenges

Ishida acknowledges that regulation remains a significant challenge in Africa. South Africa stands out as the most advanced in terms of crypto regulations, facilitating compliance and enabling businesses to flourish. However, many African countries still lack clear regulations and require substantial government cooperation.

Emurgo’s experience in 2019 collaborating with the government to implement crypto exchange and security token exchange regulations in Nigeria reflects their commitment to working with local governments to develop comprehensive and enabling crypto regulations. This collaborative approach enhances regulatory clarity and boosts the crypto industry in these countries.

The crypto landscape

Discussing the emerging crypto landscape in the region, with particular focus on the potential of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Ishida highlights Turkey as an exciting hub for innovation due to its unique geographical location bridging Europe and the Middle East. He notes that the country’s increasing exposure to global businesses and its burgeoning startup scene make Turkey a key player in the crypto space.

He also underscores the importance of Nigeria, with its vast population and median age of 17.7. Nigeria is seen as a promising market, despite the regulatory challenges. The involvement of young entrepreneurs and the Nigerian government’s eagerness to engage with the tech industry suggest a bright future for crypto in the country.

Ishida’s insights provide a glimpse into the evolving landscape of crypto and blockchain technology in Africa. Emurgo’s commitment to investment, regulation, and collaboration with local governments demonstrates their dedication to fostering innovation and growth in the region. As the crypto space continues to evolve, Emurgo and Ishida’s efforts are poised to make a significant impact in the African markets.

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