Why Africa Is the Winner of the Digital Age

Posted by StevenHWicker on June 21st, 2019

Africa, a sprawling landscape of sweeping savannas, tropical forests, breathtaking beaches, and picturesque sunrises, is poised at the brink of a profound transformation. Through its interaction with the rest of the world and establishment of economic, cultural, and social relations across international boundaries, it has evolved to become an active participant in the current phase of digital globalization.

Home to the fastest growing economies in the world, Africa is ready to carry its progress forward, not least through technological development, innovation, and a young and ambitious workforce. As with any progress, the right mindset is, however, crucial to driving this transformation ahead. Technology news in Africa

Africa is a 12 million-square-mile continent with a collective population of 1.2 billion people. The 54 independent countries forming the African continent share, albeit to a different extent, a common history of colonialism and oppression, setting them back decades in terms of economic development. However, the African countries are progressing through a common timeline of independence, industrial reforms, and consistent improvement in the quality of life.

According to the World Bank, Africa is home to six of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies – Ghana, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Senegal and Tanzania – and is expected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2019. Despite some undeniable infrastructural and political challenges, such a high level of growth is a clear testament to the fact that Africa’s economy is consistently catching up.

The concept of Africa as a hub of economic growth, trade, and digitalization can only be sustainable through collective efforts and structural reforms. If managed properly, the vast investment opportunities across the continent have the potential to establish Africa as a pioneer of the digital age. As the costs of accessing technology become affordable, governments are more capable of investing in the infrastructure required to advance technological development.

The impact of the digital transformation in Africa could undoubtedly be more vital than any political or economic reform, and could significantly and permanently change the lives of its people. While job creation and economic growth is one aspect, digitalization promotes a more inclusive economy, contributes to increased citizen participation, and gives the people the opportunity to express themselves and to play a more active role in the progress and development of their homeland.

The digital transformation offers the ability to communicate the stories and values of the people and cultures of Africa to the rest of the world and provides the opportunity to reshape the African narrative. Africa is much more than its lush lands, colorful tribes, and magnificent animals and by all means more than the sizeable no-go zone of civil war, corruption, and poverty, often portrayed by the media.

The African narrative lies in the stories of its people, their values, their resilience, and their perseverance in the face of unrest. While writers like Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie have narrated the spirit, culture, and lifestyle of Africa to the world, digitalization gives a voice to all people and enables them to change the continent’s image dominated by stereotypes, into one which is closer to reality, the people’s reality.

It is a well-known fact that Africa was the beginning of all humankind as we know it. It is home to ancient, rich, and elaborate cultures with a wealth of technical knowledge in various areas. Africa is home to the world’s earliest record of human technological achievement—the oldest stone tools in the world were found in eastern Africa, and later evidence for tool production and utilization was located across the Sub-Saharan region.

Throughout the course of history, Africans have actively contributed to scientific advancements. One and perhaps the best example of the last century is Nigerian scientist Dr. Philip Emeagwali, also known as “Bill Gates of Africa”, who invented the world’s fastest computer and is often referred to as the father of the internet. Coming from modest financial circumstances, his success is an example of how the modern-day era can offer tremendous opportunities for Africa to build its own technological legacy.

Compared to the economic growth of other regions, the rise of the African economies is faster but more complex. Approximately one-third of the African countries have an annual GDP rise of more than 6%, thus making Africa the second fastest continent in economic growth after Asia, which is reflected in the list of the top 10 fastest growing economies in 2018. African business blog

When supplied with the necessary resources and governed by principles of social, economic and environmental sustainability, Africa has the potential to achieve growth beyond all expectations. On the other hand, continuing lack of investment in infrastructure, health, education, and technology could further hamper the overall development of the continent.

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