How Technology can Spur Growth in Africa.
Africa is thoughtfully monitored as the next big growth market. A description that has now stayed for a while.
There are a number of reasons for this optimism as the continent is home to some of the youngest populations in the world, promising a major consumption market over the next three decades, and it is increasingly mobile phone-enabled.
In the event of all these, an emerging digital ecosystem is particularly crucial as multiplier of that growth, because access to smart phones and other devices enhances consumer information, networking, job-creating resources, and even financial inclusion.
Big tech giants like facebook, twitter, and google are starting to spread their wings in counties like Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana among other countries to exploit this untapped economic market.
Recently, Nigeria and Kenya emerged as FinTech hotbeds, and are using inexpensive, accessible tech to mobilize consumers in ways never seen before.
To stay competitive, U.S. banks and FinTech companies need to study the factors enabling these successes abroad and figure out how they can keep pace.
Despite all these breakthrough of tech innovations in Africa, there are promises that remain unfulfilled. Growth in Africa has stalled; both the IMF and the World Bank have cut their 2019 economic growth projections for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to 3.5percent and 2.8percent, respectively, with growth in 2018 at 2.3 percent.
Poverty has increased and is a cause of concern. For example, 437 million of the world’s extreme poor are in SSA and 10 of the 19 most unequal countries in the world are in region.
The World Bank projects that if poverty reduction measures and growth remain sluggish, Africa could be home to 90 percent of the world’s poor by 2030.
Despite these sobering statistics, there is hope that the true acceleration potential for the region lies in the rapid spread of mobile digital technology, which would help the region “leapfrog” ahead in its economic development.
What remains for the continent is the will to correct its leadership problem and tap on the opportunities that are available.
Africa also need to create good policies that are investor friendly as well as invest a lot of resources in research to be able to compete in the emerging market of global tech innovations.
Lastly, A free-trade zone could help in collaborative initiatives, such as the benchmarking, to close the gaps and transfer knowledge across countries to enable the delayed promise of growth in Africa and helping make the growth inclusive thereby accomplishing that rare phenomenon of getting lions to leapfrog.