Technology is opening up in Africa at a remarkable pace and is changing the face of business activities. In just over 10 years technology adoption has skyrocketed. Mobile phones are common today even in the remote African village. Ericsson, a technology company, estimates that the number of mobile phones will rise to more than
900 million by 2019. This development is likely to drive internet access to 50% within a decade. Mobile phones are now affordable and the widespread of broadband mean that it is now easier for thousands of Africans to be online. Technology is changing various sectors, from mining, agriculture, tourism, health, education, banking and finance, among other fields.
By Patson Chapeyama
Digital developments have ushered in a new era in the business world on the continent. From mobile banking to social networking, news and agriculture apps, Internet access using mobile devices has ushered in a revolution in information sharing in various parts of Africa, for example South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria among other countries. Technology is opening up African markets, some which have been closed or did not previously exist.
Technology is making things easy and fast.
The recent development of small cargo drones could be a solution to Africa’s pressing challenges. IBM company and a group of engineers are developing drones that will carry more than 10kg and is said can cover a distance of more than 120km. This disruptive change in technology may have impact in the transport sector meaning goods maybe delivered faster and cheaper. This will also make other transport forms irrelevant.
The telecoms sector has over the past few years been and continues to be the primary driver of business growth in Africa. Use of the Internet has improved international connectivity and opening up marketing platforms. The adoption of use of mobile application has allowed businesses to market their products on application platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and many more. Firms are adopting mobile money to settle bills, pay creditors, suppliers eliminating the need of queuing in banks to get hard cash. Payments can now be done with just a press of a figure on the phone. It is now easier and faster to transact through technology. An example of such platforms is Ecocash in Zimbabwe.
Another mobile phone system which allows more than 30 000 farmers to sell their coffee, cotton and cocoa in Tanzania has, to a greater extent, helped in boosting profitability for these farmers.
E-Commerce sector is burgeoning in various countries across the continent where online retail is now competing with the traditional way of using hard cash and physically purchasing of goods and services. There is rampant growth of online classifieds and retail platforms for example Jumia in Nigeria, Ownai and Pamusika in Zimbabwe, Kasha.com Ghana and Kong in Nigeria. These platforms offer a wide selection of products and services for example electronics, fashion, home appliances and properties, and allows for a variety of payment options.
Technology is also making great impact in the education sector, although it’s still in its infancy. With the rapid development of mobile and iPad apps to teach children to write and to read, these innovations will revolutionise the sector in Africa and is likely to replace the traditional system where children have to walk long hours and distances or pay exorbitant fees to attend school. The main advantage of using technology to teach is that it reduces the impact of common failings in many other ordinary schools in Africa such as absenteeism. An example of such innovation in Africa is the Bridge International Academies. It has more than 100 000 nursery and primary schools in Kenya; paying about $6 to attend low cost schools that use technology that follows standardised curriculum.
There is also massive transformation in the media, particularly print. Those residing in remote areas used to rely on deliveries of hard copies of newspapers to their areas to get access to news. Now with technology anyone can access news online anywhere, any time.
It is undoubtedly that technology is opening up wider opportunities in Africa and should be embraced. If companies fail to keep up with the pace they will soon be irrelevant to the market.
Patson Chapeyama is a young cutting edge writer and business start-up consultant. He has penned two captivating success books, Ascending to Zones of Greatness and Greater Dimensions. He is the editor of Young Miner’s magazine and newsletters. Can be reached on +email@example.com.