It feels like a long time ago since The Economist described Africa as a “hopeless continent”. That was the year 2000, and in the two decades since, Africa has undergone a quiet revolution in terms of growth and governance, with GDP tripling over the past twenty years. Now at the beginning of the 2020s, the continent is widely tipped to lead global growth over the coming decade. In this article, we look at why Africa is predicted to become the next tech superpower.
Africa’s tech sector
A key aspect of that predicted growth is the tech sector. A young, increasingly educated population is quick to embrace technological solutions. With tech start-ups beginning to flourish, some analysts are even suggesting that part of the continent will be tech-based global economic powerhouses.
600 tech incubators
There are now over 600 tech incubators across Africa. These are collaborative partnership programmes that assist tech start-ups by providing workspaces, mentoring, training help, seed funding and routes to market. Some of the emerging companies that are being developed as part of these schemes are predicted to become the global tech giants of the future.
Intel & Microsoft involved
This quiet revolution hasn’t gone unnoticed. Large tech companies and governments are beginning to take an interest. A scheme to help women and girls become computer literate in Africa has been launched by Intel. The “She Will Connect Scheme” is dedicated to overcoming the online gender gap. By helping women and girls gain computer skills it hopes to empower them in the emerging job market and remove imbalances in the digital economy. Microsoft’s 4Afrika project backs African tech entrepreneurs and provides capital for start-ups.
Governments have begun to back African tech. The Go Global Africa Initiative is aiming to link African and British tech firms. The United Arab Emirates have launched a $500m programme called “Consortium for Africa” which hopes to close the digital skills divide.
These are investment partnerships with a hope for significant returns. International government schemes hope to position their nations as the first port of call for African tech companies as they grow. Challenges remain however in terms of infrastructure. More investment will be needed to help plug the gap and ensure that barriers to growth for emerging tech companies don’t become insurmountable.
Africa, the next tech superpower – where to find out more
If your business would like to be involved in developing infrastructure to help Africa become the next tech superpower, talk to us about how we can help. Our firm is driven and predominantly staffed by African professionals backed with our international partners that understand the cultural orientation, terrain and contextual nuances of Africa’s continental landscape.
We provide project consulting services, transaction advisory services, and finance and investment services to help businesses identify, manage and deliver infrastructure projects across Africa. The investment opportunities we create yield real returns for our partners and, in turn, build a stable platform for ongoing investment throughout the regions in which we operate.
About The Author
Tunde is the founder of UK-based Jabiut Development Partners; a strategic development, infrastructure finance and project consulting organisation. He is actively involved in major programme delivery and strategic advisory; providing numerous organisations and arms of government with advice on capital projects, project financing and infrastructure concession placement.
Tunde Ajia examines infrastructure challenges & opportunities in Nigeria during a period of unprecedented growth & economic expansion. Originally published in Oxford Urbanists,
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