International business has changed as the world has truly globalized. However, there is still a huge gap between the ‘haves and the have nots', and Africa is at a crossroads in an age where the continent has the opportunity to truly participate. To become one of the haves in a time where the resources on the continent have never been more recognized and appreciated.
From the early beginnings of globalization, it was clear that Africa needed to engage in international trade. The same is true today; the difference is that this trade can now be done on eCommerce platforms allowing money to flow between more than just the elite or, worse yet, in some cases, the state. Corruption is still a large part of the stumbling blocks to the true and proper use of income generated from international trade, as most of this trade has had to move through governments. eCommerce in Africa can turn this on its head and revolutionize the manner in which Africa grows from the sale and use of its resources, both human and natural capital.
In a nutshell, the only way that this can happen on the scale required for economic development and growth on the continent is through the Cloud.
- Cloud Computing
The technological revolution is still in its infancy, and it is more than likely that the developments of the last ten years are to be repeated, and these developments will happen in the Cloud. The ability to facilitate joint discussion, share knowledge, large amounts of information, and software capabilities is the beginning of a new age. It is critical for less developed countries to be able to use these capabilities for development and growth, both public and private, financial and social.
- Technology Hubs
It is incumbent on private funders and governments to increase tech hubs across the continent. There has already been a movement in this direction, with over 50% growth in tech businesses and these hubs. However, the numbers are still too low, with only 643 of these estimated to be in operation as of January 2021, and as such, cannot be used as a major boost for economic growth until there are more of these that connect with each other across the continent.
- Training and Development
There needs to be a marked boost in the level of tech and Cloud-related training, from the basic but essential Google Cloud training to advanced technology courses. In order for the aforementioned tech to be used to its capacity and to the fullest of its capabilities, Africans from across the continent need to be empowered to use the technology that is now being made available and must be demanded as a basic developmental right.
- More Involvement of the Tech Giants
Microsoft is a great example of how big business's involvement in this re-awakening of Africa is essential. The organization is spending over $100 million on the development of a data center in Africa that will be able to boost the connectivity and computing power on the continent. The Microsoft Africa research institute is also at the forefront of using technology for work, health, and society. This trend would need to continue and grow to meet the need of the continent.
Africa is currently on an upwards growth trajectory; yes, there are serious leadership issues in various places, but it is the positives that we should focus on, and this is the rise of Cloud computing and eCommerce as a shining light of hope.