Among other developmental aspects, Africa is advancing in the use and spread of information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). From using mobiles for marketing, sending out money, checking health information to using the small device for education and socializing; swamped the continent with a growing demand bigger than that of the United States and the European Union, says the World Bank Group.
ICT innovations are significantly transforming how the business and leadership is done. It has heavily attracted the attention of the African head of states to support their vision to come out of poverty and economic growth. The continent boomed its access to internet connectivity 20 fold in just four years having over 750 million mobile phone subscribers giving access to two third of all African adults.
Such tech transforming measures have supported the creation of more new jobs to the youth as well as increasing export capacity of private sectors. For instance in Kenya the Kilimo Salama system offers crop insurance for farmers through the M-PESA payment platform allowing them to access climate information. Similarly, in Senegal, a subsidiary of Orange SONATEL launched money transfer services, allowing over 200,000 subscribers to easily receive and send out money using their mobile devices. In Ethiopia, people started to transfer money, book hotels using Jumia Travel mobile app and receive health information using their mobile devices.
“The mobile platform is emerging as the single most powerful way to extend economic opportunities and key services to millions of people,” says Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang, World Bank economist and editor of a new Bank Group report on ICT.
Encouraged by such positive growth, governments understand that massive positive implication of using technology agriculture, climate change, education, financial services and health. In the long run, it’s also expected to contribute a lot to the regional trade integration. Apart from the rest of the world which is trying to recover from the financial crisis, Africa’s economic growth is booming. It’s GDP has been growing by 5% over the past ten years with forecast growth faster than any other continent according to the World Bank Group. To further this remarkable growth, ICT and mobiles are expected to contribute much reaching out to people even at remote and previously inaccessible locations; facilitating overall economic growth. It’s also expected to break the traditional and time taking transactions when it comes to trading and money transfer, making people’s daily lives easier.
However, the shift to technology does not come easy. There still exists poor infrastructure and lack of skilled manpower to effectively implement ICT and introduce innovative culture to persuade children to love technology when they are still little. Another hurdle is installing the ICT technology into businesses due to the high price tag attached to shifting into digital. Lack of trainings on how to implement ICT to business also continue to discourage them from going digital.
Nevertheless, the general recognition and implementation of ICT has boosted development, speed service delivery and created job opportunities. Certainly, innovations promote digital technologies, promoting development and competition thus bringing quality products to the market. It also increases accountability of companies as transactions on ICT are traceable, creating transparency commitment to fulfil state payments and taxes.
In an effort to catch up with the latest developments on technology, Ethiopia has massively expanded internet and mobile subscription in most parts of the country. Ethiopia crafted a growth model attracting investment on technology, digitalizing education and health sectors. The mission to transform the traditional Ethiopian market also saw 250 million dollar investment from the state to build the first ICT Park in Addis Ababa. The state monopoly also allowed foreign tech companies such as ZTE and Tecno Mobile to establish their hubs at the ICT Park to enhance the local capacity.
By Eden Sahle from Jumia Travel