Tech in Africa, Boosts and Downsides

The future is technology. There is nothing new in this sentence. Many developed countries and super States have already jumped on the bandwagon. The presence of technology in Africa has increased. It might help the continent to speed up the pace of economic growth. But, this comes with downsides.

Number of Internet users is growing but…

According to World Bank’s data, a quarter of Africa’s population has internet access. A fifty-fold increase in internet usage since early 2000. By 2030, the continent “could parity with the rest of the world as Africans will completely become internet users,” reads The Brookings Institution report. The economic potential is large: Mobile technologies have already generated 1.7 million jobs. They contribute $144 billion to the continent’s economy, or roughly 8.5% of GDP. Despite this, Africa lags behind other regions of the world with 22% internet connectivity.

“Around four out of 10 people in Africa had internet access in December 2021. The online penetration rate was below the global average,” reads Statista forecasts. The number of internet users in Africa increased to around 565 million in 2022, six times more than in 2010. By 2025, the figure might come close to 700 million. Despite the fast improvement in connectivity access, internet use in Africa is the lowest worldwide.

Tech in Africa

Investments needed

During the COVID-19 crisis, a part of the world isolated themselves in their houses to avoid the spread of the pandemic. In Africa, children and students remained without Internet access and thus no education. Sundar Pichai, US tech giant Google CEO, announced in October 2021 a $1 billion investment in Africa over five years.

“One thing we’ve seen is how technology can be a lifeline. Whether you are a parent seeking information to keep your family healthy, a student learning virtually or an entrepreneur connecting with new customers. Being helpful in these moments is at the core of our mission. We must organize the world’s information and make it accessible and useful,” wrote Pichai.

During that period, Microsoft Corp. also helped over 30 million people in 249 countries and territories.

Africa will need an investment totaling €86 billion to plug every citizen into the internet by 2030, according to a World Bank estimate. You might not earn billions but you might earn money playing PlayAmo SA online casino.

Other innovations growth

Africa’s tech industry is promising. The innovation sector is growing fast, although it remains far behind on a worldwide scale. The continent is currently home to 643 innovation hubs. Various trainings are taking place to boost digital skills among the population.

Many African countries are already tapping two critical emerging technologies. AI and drones.

According to a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 15 African countries use AI-supported surveillance technologies to track crimes. In 2016, Rwanda became the world’s first country to offer commercial drones. It partnered with the U.S.-based Zipline to deliver medical supplies to rural areas.

Governments need to make a choice

This tech development is a good point for Africa. Yet, innovations, technology growth and their settlement have their downside. According to the Brookings Institution nonprofit public policy organization, “The ultimate impact of emerging technologies will depend on how governments choose to use them. Due to their low costs and rapid proliferation, AI and drones offer many African countries the opportunity to reap economic, political, and security benefits through early adoption. However, the impact of emerging technology could be destabilizing if used to enhance corporate profits and regime security without regard to the lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens.”

Africa’s tech field is promising. But only if the continent’s governments tackle the challenge at a large scale and decide to invest more into innovations. For this, they would need to harness their people’s brainpower and inject more money in the Research and Development budget.

Staff Writer153 Posts

Kachwanya.com - Kenya Tech News. Technology and Business News. Writes about policy, product reviews and opinions, and trend analysis.

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