Made in Africa” but for Africa
Since the IT Boom and up to now, Africa as a continent has never been known as a pioneer in science and Technology. However, now there is a reverse situation whereby a wave of technology success stories have started to spread Africa’s locally grown digital innovations across the continent and out into the wider world.
The innovations and creation of technologies are not only “Made in Africa” but for Africa as a whole and are being used to solve local problems and improve productivity.
There are several sectors of the African economy’s that have already been impacted by this shift from imitator to inventor of technology namely:
A well elaborated article by Mr Kayode Yusuf FCCA, finance professional and journalist on AB Magazine July 2017 would tell us all. Here is an extract from this analysis:
The driving force behind the growth of Africa’s tech sector is the emergence of tech hubs scattered across major cities in the continent. According to World Economic Forum research, there are roughly 200 innovation hubs in Africa. In Kenya, there is the iHub, which formed a strategic partnership with Facebook and Google to train developers in coding and product development. It is home to over 170 startups and 16,000 members and in 2016 it received US$2m in funding from US fund Invested Development. Kenya is a leader in technology and innovation in Africa – its tech space is generally referred to as Silicon Savannah. The government’s commitment is reflected in its support for the construction of Konza Techno City just south of Nairobi, which is expected to be a major economic driver for the country.
On the other side of the continent, Nigeria has the Co-Creation Hub, an innovation ecosystem located in Lagos. The Cc-Hub, as it is known, is dedicated to the application of technology for economic growth. Meanwhile, South Africa has JoziHub in Johannesburg. Another leading tech innovator in Africa, JoziHub aims to kickstart and accelerate tech innovation and currently embraces 46 startups. According to Disrupt Africa, 125 startups in Africa raised funding worth US$186m in 2015.
The technologies grown in these hubs are not only made in Africa, they are also made for Africa, designed from the start to suit local needs. In these hubs the budding crop of coders and technology entrepreneurs are coming together to solve Africa’s most pressing problems. Ecosystems such as entertainment media, payment systems and crowdfunding created there are gradually changing the face of Africa.
Accountants are also taking advantage of the proliferation of technology in Africa, too, especially in the area of cloud-based business applications. Examples include Uhasibu and Xero, cloud-based accounting packages built respectively by Pluspeople in Nairobi and LouwCooper in Cape Town. Both leverage cloud-based computing to help SMEs gain access to easy-to-use and affordable accounting systems.
Foreign tech companies are finding the continent more attractive and their investment in technology continues to increase. However, this may not be solely altruistic – they may be taking advantage of the relatively weak regulatory environment in Africa. Compared to Western countries, Africa does not have continent-wide digital rights laws or copyright regulations. African governments will need to work together on structural reforms to create a framework that works for all.