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Is Africa the Future of Tech?


Photo of people walking outside in a Tanzanian market.

Credit: Blue Ox Studio

By: Arinze Okigbo


Africa is home to 1.4 billion people, it is often overlooked as a significant player in the international technology industry, but the continent is set to become a significant force in the next few years. Here are just a few reasons why Africa is the future of technology.


Technological advancements and demand are driven by rapid economic growth, which many African countries have been experiencing recently. An expanding middle class, increased foreign investments, and a rise in commodity prices drive this growth. According to the World Bank, the continent's GDP is expected to grow by an average of 3.9% per year between 2020 and 2025, outpacing global growth. Such growth creates business opportunities and boosts demand for technology products and services.


Africa has a growing young population, with an average age of just 19. This younger generation is highly knowledgeable and eager to adopt new technologies. According to the African Development Bank, over 60% of Africa's population is under 25, and the continent has the highest youth literacy rate globally. This demographic trend presents a massive opportunity for technology companies looking to expand into the African market.


In a manner that few other areas have, Africa has advanced conventional infrastructure and embraced mobile technologies. With more than half of the population owning a cell phone, the continent has the fastest penetration rate internationally. Several cutting-edge mobile-based products and businesses have emerged due to this "mobile first" approach, including M-Pesa, a mobile banking service that has revolutionised financial inclusion in Kenya. Thanks to mobile technology, healthcare, education and other vital services have all been made available in Africa, particularly in the banking sector, where mobile banking is far more user-friendly than in many developed nations. In Nigeria, mobile banking has grown to the point where you can instantly transfer money between banks without needing external applications or services like Zelle or Venmo, which mobile bankers rely heavily on in the US.


Many digital startups and innovation hubs are located in Africa, fostering the growth of new industries and enterprises. The issues that these businesses address range from healthcare and financial inclusion to agriculture and education. For instance, a Kenyan company named M-Kopa has created a pay-as-you-go solar power system that gives off-grid households access to clean, reasonably priced electricity. Top African software engineers are trained and hired by Andela, another company, to work with businesses worldwide. These and other cutting-edge enterprises are fueling the expansion of Africa's IT ecosystem.


Thanks to its advantageous geographic location at the intersection of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Africa is a major centre for international commerce and investment. Africa is a desirable for multinational digital businesses wishing to expand their operations due to its strategic position, increasing economy, and tech environment. The likes of Google, Microsoft, and IBM have all opened operations in Africa in recent years. Many businesses are drawn to the continent because of its vast market potential and developing tech industry.


In conclusion, Africa's rapid economic development, youthful, educated population, mobile-first mindset, expanding digital ecosystem, and advantageous location make it the future content for technology. The continent is anticipated to play a more prominent role in the global IT sector as it develops and adopts new technology. There are many exciting opportunities for firms and people to engage with Africa's immense potential for technological innovation and progress.

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