As the market gears for a new wave of predictions on what we can expect for next year, IDC takes a look back at their top 10 ICT predictions for Africa for 2015 to see which of these became a reality and which were off the mark.
Ahead of releasing their 2016 ICT trends for Africa on 1 December, IDC has created a rating scale to determine how accurate their previous predictions were, based on key events that took place over the past year.
According to Mark Walker, associate vice president at IDC Sub-Saharan Africa, a few trends stood out, shaping the ICT sector on the continent. “Facebook’s commitment to Africa, albeit relatively small to begin with, showed that global multinationals are seeing opportunity on the continent,” he says. “We also saw growing support for and awareness of SMB-specific technology solutions and requirements.”
Security remained a high priority on the continent, particularly in light of growing cybersecurity threats. “While we are seeing more collaboration, particularly in East Africa, moves by governments to put country-specific personal data protection in place will drive multinational vendors with operations in Africa to start considering domestic presence and local data centres,” says Walker. “Increased connectivity also has an impact on physical security, as more connected devices mean more risks, but also more ways of monitoring physical activity” he adds.
Walker notes that the conversation around cloud has also shifted significantly. “Corporations have moved away from asking what cloud is, to asking what it can do for them. While cloud adoption and preferences vary by region, this nascent technology is rapidly becoming a credible delivery model for IT services and software. Globally, IDC predicts that cloud industry consolidation will result in six to eight major platforms by 2020. This holds significant implications for Africa, where the major global cloud players have started establishing and bolstering their presence on the continent,” he says.
A review of the 2015 ICT predictions for Africa
Based on market events, IDC has achieved an overall rating of 75% or a B+ for their top 10 ICT predictions for Africa for 2015. The rating scale used ranges from a prediction accuracy of 70% or a B rating to a 90% accuracy, or an A++. It takes into consideration key market events that either supported, or disproved the IDC predictions.
ICT investments addressing African market realities will also fuel gross domestic product (GDP) growth in key countries. B
The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) announced a national traceability system that will involve over five million smallholder farmers engaged in producing multiple commodities traded at the ECX. The system, which will be piloted with coffee, is expected to increase exports of high-quality Ethiopian coffee world-wide and enhance market access for specialty coffee from Ethiopia.
Governments with relevant, effective national ICT policies will begin to reap significant economic benefits. B+
In the overall World Economic Forum Network Readiness Index rankings, SA & Rwanda occupy position three and six in Africa respectively. SA scores higher in terms of infrastructure, (SA 5th, vs Rwanda’s 13th). SA has experienced higher economic impact of ICT, but Rwanda has highest social impact of technology score, through government’s use of ICT in providing services to citizens, as well as the One-Laptop-Per-Child policy (SA 15th).
Investment management firm Convergence Partners has revealed plans to spend R2.5 billion ($200 million) on ICT infrastructure across Africa, with a large chunk of this investment going towards Southern Africa.
In Kenya, one can now renew a driver’s license, book a driving test, and download a temporary driver’s license online.
The battle for the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market in more developed African countries will start in 2015. A+
Facebook’s Johannesburg offices and its move further into Africa aims to further support efforts of SMB usage of the platform, usage which Facebook categorises as “sophisticated”.
Private sector donors supporting government SMB initiatives, such as Enterprise Kenya, a government led investment fund to support SMBs in the country.
Security concerns will remain as mobile devices, data, and access methods increase. A
The “Northern Corridor” partner states of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan have committed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on preventing and responding to the increasing threats of cybercrime facing the region.
Country-specific personal data protection will require a domestic presence and local datacenters for multinational providers with operations in African countries. MTN, is offering its customers a service dubbed ‘Direct Connect’, which enables companies’ data centres or offices to establish private connectivity to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
External socioeconomic agendas will boost ICT usage, but will face strong resistance without due localization. B+
World Bank projects stipulate regular and transparent reporting
African IT procurement will expand to meet the needs of new clients, new products, and new markets. B+
Not at as fast a pace as anticipated.
Technology will help breach intra-African trade barriers by removing obstacles, increasing efficiency, and encouraging transparency. B
Whilst a Continental Free Trade Area is on the cards, the legal frameworks to enable this are still outdated.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announced that it will be partnering with Nigeria’s Dangote group to bolster intra-African trade.
Mobility will drive digital engagement that integrates the benefits offered by cloud, big data initiatives, and social networking. B+
31 government agencies out of a total of 262 have shared their data on the Kenya Open Data platform.
Market bifurcation will characterize mobility initiatives as smartphones outpace feature phones. A
In an attempt to understand the usage experience of millions of people in emerging markets who only have access to slow internet connections, Facebook is adopting a new opt-in initiative for employees called “2G Tuesdays.”
Cloud adoption will be dictated by business decisions rather than considerations around the technology itself. B
MTN will enable its business customers to directly connection to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
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Note: Below is a detailed outline of the scale that IDC used to review their predictions:
90% – A++
85% – A+
80% – A
75% – B+
70% – B