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In this article, Sarah Dusek, Managing General Partner, Enygma Ventures LLC, explains the top trends to know about Africa’s recent tech boom.
In its recent Q2 2022 Domestic Product Report, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics identified that its (ICT) sector contributed 18.44% of its GDP in Q2, largely superseding its oil sector, which accounted for 6.33% of its GDP in Q2.
This statistic points to a clear tech boom that is not only taking place within Nigeria but throughout the entire continent of Africa.
As we’ve seen in other regions of the world, a technology boom can be a powerful tool to drive the African economy forward and help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Given that 23% of the world’s workforce population will be in the continent of Africa by 2050, according to the United Nations, the tech boom currently taking place is not one to miss. Here are the top four things to keep in mind about Africa’s tech boom.
From the development of the cell phone to social media platforms and the blockchain technology that helps combat food waste, we’ve seen multiple examples of how technology has served as a tool to close gaps among demographics and populations around the world. The technology boom in Africa is helping the continent close social and economic gaps through the growing digitization and adoption currently taking place throughout the continent. For example, according to Statista, the number of internet users in Africa increased to 565 million this year, equaling six times more than the number in 2010. This number is expected to increase to 700 million by 2025.
Increased access and connectivity will allow Africans to innovate, collaborate and create technological solutions for current problems, such as access to education or financial resources, and create new technologies that we don’t even know we need yet.
We are already seeing technology start to build a significant segment of the economy based on the latest GDP numbers, and this will only continue as digitization permeates the continent. It will help build a green economy that affects people’s lives and creates jobs.
Think about where Silicon Valley was 40 years ago. While there were a few players such as Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard and IBM on the scene, the Silicon Valley technology ecosystem was nowhere near what it is today.
Investors that arrived in the early days of Silicon Valley have reaped the rewards by helping to develop technology companies that have become staples in our everyday lives. While the technology scene continues to grow with Silicon Valley and other tech hubs within the U.S., the explosion is nowhere near the levels of the early days.
Africa currently finds itself at the pinnacle of explosive technological growth. We can compare the momentum and venture capital movement of the early days of Silicon Valley to where Africa finds itself today. Africa poses the biggest investment opportunity that hasn’t happened yet. The amount of growth that will happen in the next 30 to 40 years is extraordinary, and the opportunity for investors to get in on the ground floor of this enormous growth cycle will be both rewarding and critical.
We are already seeing examples of African startups using tech to solve some of the continent’s biggest challenges, including creating access to education, employment, financial resources and more. Some of the current tech players in Africa include companies like:
These companies are a sample of the great innovation and talent coming out of Africa. As the tech boom continues, it’s important to remember that the technology being developed within Africa will not only help to serve the continent but also be able to be scaled to other regions of the world. In addition to helping solve the continent’s problems, the technology coming out of Africa will be relevant to other populations worldwide.
As Africa’s tech scene continues to evolve, the continent is poised to disrupt the world and deliver the next wave of tech innovation around critical issues. Africa’s tech boom is an opportunity for Africa to lead the way in building the future. The technology boom will create opportunities for Africa’s people to earn income in new and unique ways, and it will be the lever to make new things possible and move the continent forward.
Sarah Dusek, Managing General Partner, Enygma Ventures LLC.
Sarah Dusek is a managing partner and co-founder of Enygma Ventures, a private investment fund dedicated to supporting and investing in women-led businesses in Africa. In 2022, Sarah launched a $600 million capital vehicle to drive conservation efforts globally, one of the largest investment vehicles of its kind in the world. This includes plans to invest in sustainable eco-lodging Quiver Tree Collection.
In 2009, she founded the leading upscale outdoor hospitality brand Under Canvas, which sold in 2018 for over $100 million. Under Canvas received a spot on the coveted Inc. 5000 list in 2017, and in the same year Sarah was also named to Ernst & Young’s EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women list as a forward-thinker and changemaker. Sarah believes in the power of leveraging challenging circumstances to propel forward change.
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