Nigeria is now established as a vibrant hub for new tech businesses, as shown by the 2019 NYSE debut of e-commerce player Jumia, surpassing a $1 billion valuation21. This is a promising sign for local skill development as 56% of developers we surveyed work for startups22, where they gain significant practical experience.
So, what’s attracting this surge in startups and VC interest? Over the past two years, the relative risk of African investments has decreased as investors began to assess mature and emerging markets more similarly. As the assessment of risk in regions like Europe and the US have skyrocketed, the relative risk of investing in African countries has decreased. Regional resilience is another big draw23. Africa’s increasingly diversified economies are driving a faster economic recovery as well as reducing poverty23. Long-term structural trends are also playing their part. The African population is young, urban and tech-optimistic. And improving infrastructure, along with positive regulatory developments, is driving down the costs of pan-continental transactions23.
As we’ve shown, many signposts are pointing the way to a bright digital future for Africa. Companies everywhere need to pay attention. So how should they move forward?
The good news is that global companies provide an example to fast-follow. The likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Orange have invested heavily in digital infrastructure and upskilling in the last 10 years to further improve the tech ecosystem’s foundations. Companies like them have succeeded by partnering with local governments and businesses as a way to better navigate the regulatory environment and local population needs and wants.
Making sure that products and services meet local requirements is essential. Just think back to when mobile payments player M-Pesa launched in Kenya in 2007, giving Africa mobile banking before anywhere else in the world. It quickly became indispensable across several countries in the continent, by extending payment services to more than 50 million people24 in otherwise underserved communities, leapfrogging the need for traditional telecoms and banking infrastructures.
We could well see a similarly disruptive opportunity through low-code solutions to democratize digital innovation in Africa. Not only could these accelerate the continent’s digital transformation, but they could also empower a whole new generation of local developer talent to achieve innovation at scale and create powerful new solutions for the African market – and beyond. These could, in turn, help local tech companies punch above their weight on local and global stages.
It’s hard to exaggerate the scale of the opportunity. The time to plan your African success story is now. Regardless of industry, Africa must be a key component of any global expansion roadmap. Accenture is an ideal partner to help structure and execute African expansion. Our unique purview on Africa is underpinned by local experts and extensive market knowledge.
2 The proportion of GDP generated by the internet economy
3 Accenture Analysis
4 Google/IFC e-Conomy Africa 2020
5 Africa Business Ventures
6 Google/IFC e-Conomy Africa 2020
8 Accenture Analysis
9 Daxx.com (Evans Data Corporation)
10 Accenture Analysis
11 Daxx.com (Evans Data Corporation)
12 Accenture Analysis
14 Google/IFC e-Conomy Africa 2020
16 Synced: AI Technology & Industry Review
17 Daily News Egypt
18 Max Cuvellier, Africa: The Big Deal
19 Partech 2015-2019 and The Big Deal (2020, 2021 YTD)
20 Max Cuvellier, Africa: The Big Deal
21 Tech Crunch
22 Accenture Analysis
23 How We Made It in Africa