“As Africa transitions from the margins to the mainstream of the global economy, technology is playing an increasingly significant role. Bolstering regional trends in business, investment and modernization is the emergence of an IT ecosystem – a growing patchwork of entrepreneurs, tech ventures and innovation centres coalescing from country to country. Nigeria is a hotbed for start-up activity. Facebook, Netflix and SAP have recently expanded in Africa. And Silicon Valley investment is funnelling into ventures from South Africa to Kenya.
The Rise of Silicon Savannah
Most discussions of the origins of Africa’s tech movement circle back to Kenya, which laid down four markers between 2007 and 2010 to inspire the country’s Silicon Savannah moniker: mobile money, a globally recognized crowdsourcing app, Africa’s tech incubator model, and a genuine government commitment to ICT policy.
In 2007, Kenyan telecom Safaricom launched the M-Pesa mobile money product. It grew rapidly to become perhaps Africa’s most recognized example of technological leapfrogging: launching ordinary citizens with mobile phones right over bricks-and-mortar banking into the digital economy. Shortly after M-Pesa’s introduction, four technologists created the Ushahidi crowdsourcing app, a highly effective tool for digitally mapping demographic events anywhere in the world. Ushahidi has since become an international tech company with multiple applications in over 20 countries.”(Culled)A brief overview of Africa’s tech industry – and 7 predictions for its future
The West African Scenario
“Over the last few years, West Africa has experienced noteworthy growth in both the availability and adoption of mobile money services. The number of live mobile money services in the region has more than doubled, from 25 in 2011 to 57 in 2016.This has helped the region to clock more than 90 million registered accounts by the end of 2016, which is three times as many as Facebook subscribers in the region and almost equal to the number of mobile broadband connections in West Africa. In fact, 10 out of 15 markets in the region today have more registered mobile money accounts than broadband connections.” Mobile Financial Technology in West Africa