HomeNews & InsightsAfrica's home grown innovations are solving global problems

Africa's home grown innovations are solving global problems

A beautiful example of the transformative power of information technology in Africa and an extract of World Bank, African development Bank and African Union joint study report.

A young South African entrepreneur has patented a chemical formula and written his business plan on his mobile phone to come up with a solution that fights Tracoma (below video). Backed up by the world's information at the tips of thier hands, African entrepreuneurs are being empowered to solve local problems and position themselves in a global market.

Provided the ICT market continues its impressive double-digit growth in Africa, the expenditures in ICT could be well north of USD 150 billion by 2016. The marketplace for ICT products and services was USD 66 billion in 2009 for a subset of 10 countries representing approximately 65% of African GDP, according to the World Bank African Development Indicators; estimating a similar share (of 6-7% of GDP) for the remainder of the continent results in a GDP of 95-100 billion. Assuming that continental GDP continues on its estimated growth path (as estimated by the IMF) and the ICT share remains at 6-7% of GDP, the ICT marketplace could be anywhere from USD 155-180 billion in 4-5 years.

Africa is the second fastest growing market after Asia, in virtually every area of ICT – mobile, broadband, PC penetration. Africa is closing the gap with the rest of the world, and in some areas like mobile financial services, it is setting the pace. 

"Of course, challenges remain, pricing of ICT services, especially broadband, continues to be higher than other regions.

The challenge for the next decade is to build on the telecommunications success story, which grew from roughly 20 million land lines in 2000 to more than 645 million mobile subscriptions in 2012, and continue the transformation. This will require reducing the cost of access for mobile broadband, supporting government-private sector collaboration, enhancing ICT labor market skills, encouraging innovative business models and creating spaces that support ICT and social entrepreneurship.

Africa’s greatest strength is its youth, as the generation of Africans that got connected for the first time through a mobile phones and social media enter the labour market, they will they take information sharing, collaboration and problem solving to a whole other level back up by the highest ICT and data analytics technologies.

Last modified on Saturday, 12 October 2013 10:02


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