Africa’s development is closely linked to digital development. Access to digital technology promotes GDP growth in all countries around the world. The potential market is immense and is increasingly confirmed. Depending on the country, the situations can be more or less contrasted. Despite everything, local populations are convinced that digital technology can improve their lives. So what are the prospects for digital technology in Africa?
How are African states reacting to current societal changes?
A large majority of African governments have realized that the economic and human development of the African continent is closely linked to digital. However, their positions are ambivalent. The freedom to do business is growing. Until recently African populations evolved in one-voice societies, where the sole voice of the state was authoritative. This period is now over. With the advent of digital technology, a more open form of governance is gradually appearing.
This inescapable development can be considered “dangerous” by certain powers which do not hesitate to slow down or control the digital initiatives created by the populations by stigmatizing, for example, some questionable practices. However, the technology reflects reality. Now new technologies are revolutionizing traditional African society.
Proposing a digital government translates into the opportunity to rethink the relationship between local populations and their governments to improve the quality of life. However, in the face of the reluctance of some countries to adopt a policy of transparency, the digitization of government services remains timid in Africa, with the exception of South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda.
On the rest of the continent, with the exception of the digitization of Radio and Television, which brings in significant revenues for states, few areas have been explored. Côte d’Ivoire has nevertheless embarked on the electronic wallet, a service offered by La Poste. The mPoste solution that allows you to carry out financial transactions using a laptop.
Which countries stand out for their dynamism in digital terms?
South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria monopolize the top three places. In French-speaking Africa, these are Mauritius, Senegal and the Ivory Coast. English being the preferred language for the digital sector.
Digital is present from the learning stage and access to online courses through MOOCs. The countries of East Africa have a culture that inspires them to look to innovation. Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa are supported by their governments fond of new initiatives. In French-speaking Africa, on the other hand, they remain less sensitive to the importance of digital technology.
How to define the spirit of African entrepreneurship in favor of digital?
According to some experts, Africa is well on its way to dominating the digital scene in the coming decades in terms of creativity. Indeed, in the face of necessity, invention represents the only solution. In addition, on the African continent, the need for services is immense.
Take the example of the success of mobile transactions. This is essentially based on the fact that the vast majority of Africans are suspicious of banking establishments. Only 5-10% of the population has a bank account. Many innovative ideas are emerging from African startups. The problem they encounter? Access to capital.
How is African digital development funded? What is the role of foreign financial investors?
Many foreign and African foundations such as the Tony Elumelu Foundation of the Nigerian banker of the same name participate in digital projects. Some of them provide funding for “hackathons”, competitions with the aim of innovating and stimulating creativity. Most of the time, they award prizes or equipment to local startups.
At the same time, a multitude of foreign investors are present in African digital technology. They operate according to the Venture Capital Risk model. The use of crowdfunding, through sites like Indiegogo, is experiencing strong growth in Africa.
Digital: a strategic issue
Digital technology is at the center of international challenges. During the digital switch-over, the Kenyan government, for example, opted for a solution that consists in licensing television boxes to Star Times, a Chinese multinational.
It is essential that the Internet be accessible at the same price for all. African States must therefore pursue their objectives, namely: promoting the development of services and harmonizing legislation to increase investment. However, governments must also invest in infrastructure to enable digital development. Africa’s connection will be effective through mobile devices.
How can Africa evolve thanks to digital?
Digital technology has an impact on all sectors of activity in Africa. This constitutes a real engine of growth and competitiveness. What are the key factors that will allow Africa to become efficient?
Africa presents the most interesting digital evolution in view of the social and economic context that characterizes the continent. Digital technology has made it possible to initiate many changes in different business sectors such as agribusiness, mobile banking or health systems.
The African digital economy is an important investment sector in all countries of the continent. This is especially true with regard to the development of incubators. Certain countries such as Cameroon and ActivSpaces, Nigeria and Webinnovation or even Ghana and Mobile Web Ghana have become engines of the digitization of activities. Internet being considered as the main vector allowing project leaders to reach the most customers. This new dynamic must intensify in the coming years to allow Africa to position itself as a leader in this market segment.
Today, it is essential to develop the spirit of African entrepreneurship. It is only by building on this dynamic in favor of entrepreneurship that Africa will itself be able to offer the digital services that make it possible to improve the level and quality of local populations.