A recap of the year 2017 indicates that businesses in Africa were positively influenced by technology. Whether it was a startup, an acquisition, or even an expansion, some of the business dynamics that played a part involved the use of technology. It was particularly common, especially where the market assessment and data analysis was crucial in estimating the amount of money to invest.
Take for instance the Nigerian startup Farmcrowdy which is an agricultural technology digital startup that aims to connect thousands of farmers to investors online, so as to enhance both the production and marketing of farm produce. A $1 million cash injection by the investors; Cox enterprises and Techstars Ventures was all down to the immense potential and profitability to be realized, once the goal is achieved.
There were innovative products launched as well, some of which aimed at simplifying payments and logistic services. One such example is 2Kuze, an agricultural technology app which was launched in January by MasterCard to enable small-plot farmers to easily make payments while connecting them to markets.
It was launched in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. In November, an e-commerce platform called Masoko was launched by Safaricom which is Kenya’s largest telecom company. The digital growth in Africa has also enabled multinational tech companies, especially those based in the Silicon Valley, to further increase their influence and expand on the continent. Microsoft and Liquid Telecom forged a partnership to open Cloud Form data centres with the aim of both encouraging and hastening the cloud adoption in African countries.
In another directive, Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited Nigeria in July and revealed plans to train close to 10 million Africans in digital skills all while providing $20 million in grants to digital non-profits. Additionally, there is to be increased funding to startups on the continent to further initiate job opportunities and lower unemployment.
On a less positive note, countries such as Togo and Cameroon experienced stagnation due to an interference of the internet connection by their respective governments because of bad politics.
Social media was mentioned as a key mode of mobilizing protestors causing the shutting down of internet connectivity, which stalled online businesses and negatively impacted online sales. All in all, 2017 was a positive year for the African continent because it benefited immensely from ICT while key projects were also initiated with the aim of further improving the economy in 2018.