Technology is often seen as the savior of the African economy, it’s a continent that has continually shown that it has the potential to do just this. Over the last few years, the technology sector in Africa has started to show some seriously positive signs. The infrastructure is still improving in fact fueled by far east investors, you could say it’s booming. Over the last six years there have been seven new undersea cables installed, plus more being planned these bring high speed data connections that have never before been present in Africa.
Telecoms companies are also investing and not on a small scale, it is estimated that nearly $14 billion dollar will have been spent by the end of this decade with the result that more half a billion Africans will be online.
However although it is important, infrastructure is not the only factor that can bring Africa to the forefront of global technology and business. For the real driving force needs real technology and success stories to promote investment and entrepreneurship. It’s happening African technology companies are already exceeding most other sectors – over the last ten years they have delivered nearly 20% in annual returns.
Most experts believe it is the growth in the mobile payments industry that his helping most. Outside Africa, mobile payments is not a mainstream function simply because of all the other payment options available – bank transfers, debit cards and credit cards to name but a few. This is not the case in Sub-Saharan Africa however where only about 1/3 of people actually have access to a bank account. This is an enormous barrier to digital transactions indeed any sort of payment which isn’t small or local is almost impossible.
This has changed greatly over the last 8 years where the mobile payment system M-Pesa has developed and brought a way to make mobile payments to millions of people. The market is now huge and getting bigger, it’s estimated the East African mobile payment market is worth more than $60 billion alone.
It’s not only a successful market in itself but also as an enabler for all sorts of other sectors both in technology and other areas. Before this it was incredibly difficult to engage in online transactions. Some people could access online accounts and other used tools like VPNs and even this Smart DNS Netflix application which can hide your location. However this could be difficult and you often needed large resources to enable these accounts before even buying anything. The reality is also that many companies are starting to block and ban VPNs too and they are an extra cost which will obviously decrease your target market massively.
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