Technology scramble in Africa attracts big tech names IBM, Samsung
Over the past few months, Africa has become a hot spot for investors. Africa’s recent economic growth and its size in both land area and population have led investors to see untapped potential in the continent.
The most rapidly growing sector thus far has been technology. Market research company Frost & Sullivan claim that e-commerce in Africa has the potential to become a $50 billion industry by 2018.
The e-commerce and mobile industries have seen the most activity and have attracted the most attention. Recent start-ups have received a surprising amount of support. At the end of last year, mobile network operator company Safaricom announced a $1 million investment fund for mobile-related start-ups in Kenya.
Technology giants, like IBM and Samsung, have also been making moves to establish themselves in Africa now that the continent’s abundance of opportunity has been made apparent. IBM has invested $60 million into a South African technology facility for start-up development and research. Now, Samsung will launch a Digital Village in Nigeria that will offer “a complete educational infrastructure, comprehensive healthcare solution and power generation capabilities that will spur the growth of small businesses and harness the energy of the sun to minimize running costs, among others.”
These efforts will be highly beneficial for local community members and small businesses, and these benefits are not isolated. As Africa’s technology industry has been expanding, communities across the continent that had previously been disconnected from the world of technology have been given the resources to connect.
In Lagos, the state government recently promised to make Wi-Fi available to residents, starting with services around parks.
Mobile network Tigo just launched its 4G LTE Technology in Tanzania, which will allow customers to connect to the internet at high speeds. The company plans to continue expanding 4G accessibility, claiming its “commitment to the digital lifestyle transformation and its leadership in delivering cutting edge technology and innovation in this market.”
As investor interest in Africa continues, the continent will continue to undergo rapid development.
What do you think are the benefits or issues of investor interest in Africa? Respond below or on Twitter @ryanlawlessness