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Africa’s unstoppable digital revolution – a new opportunity for development

by Claudia Brandian

The steady rise of Africa’s Silicon Savannah opens up new perspectives

For over a decade technology has been shaping Africa faster than anything else before. A skyrocketing, digital sector is enabling Africa to leapfrog technologies from the previous industrial revolution. Thanks to low internet costs and the increased mobile phone penetration start-ups and tech companies have mushroomed in Sub-Saharan Africa. They are developing digital solutions ranging from supporting rural mothers with pregnancy knowledge via SMS to supporting farmers with weather local information or crop insurance. It is no surprise that big international tech giants – from Facebook to Google – are keeping an eye on Africa’s rising tech sector.

Incubators and Universities are boosting entrepreneurs

The entrepreneurial spirit of Africa’s young generation are subject of public interest. International institutions and universities are lining up to provide their support. Hubs and incubators (e.g. LaunchLab or MEST ) provide these young entrepreneurs with trainings, fundings and access to networks of professionals and investors. In 2017 around 200 startups in Africa have raised € 150 M. South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are the most popular countries among tech investors.

According to Quartz Africa the share of co-working spaces and tech hubs is steadily increasing. Today Africa has a around  450 accelerators and incubators, both in major cities and in nearby areas. Tanzania, Ghana,  Senegal, Zambia, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa are only some of the countries that are leading the continent through what experts consider the fourth industrial revolution.

Africa’s drive for innovation attracts tech giants

Two of the main drivers for the fast rise of the tech sector are its fast growing young population and their entrepreneurial spirit. In combination with knowledge transfer and partnerships this creates a thriving economical ecosystem which attracts tech giants. Earlier this year Facebook  partnered up with Nigerian Cchub and inaugurated the NG_Hub, its first community hub space in Africa, according to The Guardian.  Google announced  the launch of Africa’s first artificial intelligence research center in Accra, Ghana. Besides that several African start-ups will take part at Google’s global acceleration LaunchPad.

Digitalization is key for Europe and Africa

Impact Go believes that digitalization is key to grow Europe and our huge neighbour Africa closer. These young entrepreneurs know their countries’ cultural, economical and social particularities. By paying attention to what’s happening in those start-up ecosystems, Europe can find new ways of cooperation. Maybe it’s time to connect the dots and let Africa’s digitalization play its own role in international development cooperation. Impact Go stays curious!

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