In the last decade, technology has revolutionised interactions and transactions in various sectors including communication, banking, e-commerce, education, health and media. Africa which is usually at risk of being left out by the rest of the world is however picking pace and now being poised to be the next technology hub with different countries initiating their own programs.
Speaking during the Food Summit in Dakar Senegal, African Development Bank Group president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said technology is key in spurring agricultural productivity in the continent.
“Today we have the technologies to feed Africa. We need to put them into the hands of the farmers. The technologies are working and we have to deliver them at scale,” Adesina stated.
According to the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) 2021 report, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Kenya account for about a third of Africa’s technology start-ups that result in 80% of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the continent.
Continental Free Trade Boost
Speaking during a Business and Policy Dialogue organised by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Ghana Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta urged African leaders to leverage on technology to build the continent’s economy
“We are at an important crossed roads and remain little doubt that our adoption of new technologies will prove fundamental to our economic growth,” he said.
In this year’s Africa Tech Summit in Nairobi, fourteen start-ups from various sectors across the continent have been selected to Pitch Live at the annual event.
The fifth edition bringing together tech leaders, MNOs, banks, international investors, entrepreneurs, governments, trade bodies, media and leading ventures to drive investment and business in African tech will begin from February 15th to 16th.
The World Economic Forum notes that 2021 was a record-breaking year for African tech start-ups, with 564 companies securing over US$2 billion worth of investment.
“Pitch Live is an important part of Africa Tech Summit in showcasing new ventures and connecting investors, founders and key stakeholders. Last year’s edition resulted in several ventures closing funding rounds,” said Andrew Fassnidge, Director of Africa Tech Summit.
With the ratification of the AfCFTA, Africa has the opportunity to promote digitization, inclusion and sustainable growth and has attracted investment not just within the continent.
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, SpaceX, has launched their satellite-based internet service, Starlink in Nigeria, becoming the first African country in the continent to do so.
Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco and Zambia are also expected to receive the satellite-based internet service by the end of 2023 with Nigeria’s neighbour Ghana and Namibia to wait till 2024.
On matters of regulations, Google has initiated a new policy requiring digital lenders in Kenya to submit proof of licence from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) or risk being delisted from Play Store, Google’s digital distribution service.
This came following a similar move in India, Philippines and Indonesia as it seeks to clamp down on rogue loan apps. Digital lenders awaiting approval from CBK will have to provide evidence of the same and receive an interim approval from Google valid for 45 days.