In Africa news headlines, keywords that follow digital are catalysts or impetus. Many observers point out that digitization has served as an essential trigger for the digital revolution in Africa.
According to the Statista website, in 2019, 73 percent of private businesses surveyed in sub-Saharan Africa responded positively to the high importance of the Internet of Things for their future business.
However, a growing digital divide and heightened cyber risks require urgent and coordinated action to mitigate.
Digitalization Challenges in Africa
The main problem in digitalizing businesses in Africa is access to the Internet. Today, it remains inaccessible to most people on the continent, with only 22% reported. Few citizens have digital IDs or transactional accounts, which denies them access to critical services and e-commerce. Digital startups struggle to raise funds, and "traditional" businesses slowly adopt digital technologies and platforms to increase productivity and sales. Few countries invest strategically and systematically in digital infrastructure, services, skills, and entrepreneurship.
However, the lag in the digitalization of the economy can play a cruel joke and throw the country back decades.
To be tomorrow's innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders, African youth must gain digital skills and access to the technologies and markets they need to thrive in an increasingly digitalized global economy. Governments need to find more flexible and efficient means of delivering services and interacting with citizens. Companies need to leverage digital-centric business models to connect with hundreds of millions of previously unavailable customers due to geography or low income.
5 Key Trends in Africa's Digital Economy
1. Mobile devices as the main element of digitalization
About 60% of the African population has access to the Internet through their mobile phones. It means that DevOps services and solutions should focus on mobile applications because Africans mainly use them on the Internet.
2. Urbanization of African settlements
It is projected that by 2025, 68 African cities, each with more than a million inhabitants, will increase to 85 by 2025. Urbanization always gives rise to population growth, personnel quality, and overall economic growth.
3. Demographic boom in Africa as consumption growth
Young African consumers become more prosperous and globalized as they become household decision-makers.
It will increase the continent's competitiveness. Both skilled and unskilled labor and will increase the purchasing power of consumers.
4. Growth of the developer population in Africa
Software development and IT are expanding their influence and impact on the way industries operate worldwide, especially in Africa, where the effect of the desktop leap is particularly noticeable.
5. The informal sector is the backbone of the African economy
The vast majority of casual workers own a mobile phone, which they tend to use for personal and business purposes. Today, digital communication is available to you at the national level if you own a mobile phone while in the informal sector.
Today, the most successful businesses in the African Internet economy address the challenges companies, or workers face in the informal sector.
African developers are very young, and junior developers make up a significant developer base. The actions you can take to grow your business in Africa should consider the trends of that continent.
Adjust your expectations based on where the developer was trained and watch out for bias when hiring young talent. If you need help from business analysts, for example, visit https://mlsdev.com/services/business-analysis to get expert help on running your business.
The pandemic has shown us that innovation in Africa is booming and flourishing. But to develop in this economy, you need to think about consumers constantly.
Author’s bio: Anastasiia Lastovetska is a technology writer at MLSDev, a software development company that builds web & mobile app solutions from scratch. She researches the area of technology to create great content about app development, UX/UI design, tech & business consulting.