In recent years the rising adoption and impact of technology in Africa has been receiving a lot of coverage, including in major publications such as the FT, TechCrunch, The Economist and The Next Web.
The world is paying increasing attention to developments in Africa Tech. Below are 5 reasons why you should be too.
1. Growing investment in Africa tech startups
Venture capitalists and Private Equity funds alike are viewing Africa with increased interest and taking larger bets on the continent. In 2014, over $4.2b was raised for Africa Private Equity and close to $500m in Venture Capital invested in Africa tech startups.
Some investors are already reaping the benefits such as the early investors in African online streaming service iRoko TV who it is reported made a 3000% return on their investment. At the recent Africa Tech Forum London on 22nd June, our VC and PE panellists discussed the growing number technology investment opportunities that are unfolding across the continent.
2. An incubator for inclusive innovation
Africa has become the innovation ground for infrastructure-light, inclusive solutions of the future. This is particularly true in the Fintech sector which took 30% by value of investments in the region in 2015.
Fintech innovation is thriving as entrepreneurs and investors see the opportunity created by surging smartphone adoption and the ease of winning customers in a setting where 80% are unbanked, and the traditional banking offer is costly and cumbersome.
Even more exciting is that the African fintech ecosystem is giving rise to solutions that are relevant not only for Africa but for the rest of the world.
For example, innovations in mobile banking like M-PESA in Kenya, which has helped the country drive up access to financial services from 41% to over 60%, could hold some answers for the 2 million adults who are still unbanked in the UK.
3. A growing consumer market that is underserved
Africa's growing population is expected to account for one-fifth of the worlds population by 2025. According to McKinsey, Africas consumer-facing industries are expected to grow by $400 billion by 2020, representing the continents largest business opportunity.
Technology is increasingly playing a role in providing a means to better serve and understand this growing market.
Speaking to ATBN about the African technology sector, Aongus Hegarty, President Dell Europe, Middle East and Africa said in a statement: “The possibilities presented by the African technology industry are endless. In the coming years, I think we can expect to see the adoption of new technologies across various industries including transportation, healthcare, security, and building automation. And with new technologies, comes new opportunities.”
4. A source for global tech talent
With nearly 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has one of the youngest populations in the world. While others argue about the risks this presents, companies such as Andela and Tunga see it as an opportunity. They are training African youth to become high quality software developers and connecting them with global businesses who are faced with a growing tech talent shortage.
The digital jobs panel at the recent Africa Technology Business Forum discussed how digital platforms and payments are being leveraged to create global opportunities for Africa’s emerging tech talent as well as how this presents an exciting opportunity that global businesses can tap into.
5. CleanTech energy opportunities
There are over 600 million Africans without access to electricity. This demand combined with the chronic lack of infrastructure and rise in payments solutions has sparked a “gold-rush” in the innovation of cleantech and off-grid solutions.
The Africa Tech Forum Cleantech panel consisting of experts working across clean energy, investment and fintech provided a multifaceted view of the opportunities and trends emerging in the sector.
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