In the Age of Information, technology plays a vital role in how any society thrives. It also presents its own challenges, and a call for adaptation to rise above such obstacles.
Like other countries around the world, Africa is looking to boost its economy, and increasing technology use is the right place to start.
However, it requires taking a certain amount of risk to change the way business is modeled and modify traditional ways of thinking. Fortunately, new business owners and young entrepreneurs are giving credence to the wonderful possibilities embracing tech in business may offer. African governments and continental policy are looking towards digitalization to strengthen the economy as a whole and lower poverty levels. This includes various initiatives like taking advantage of youth’s open-mindedness, bringing them together for technology bootcamps, and other ingenious avenues to pave the way for digital transformation in Africa.
How Can Digital Transformation Help Economic Growth?
Outsourcing IT for African SMEs Cuts Costs
As African business owners begin to embrace more complex technology to run their companies, they may want to take advantage of all the benefits offered by hiring experienced IT support services. Without help from experts, SME owners may not know how to take full advantage of IT as a vital business tool.
Unfortunately, hiring an in-house IT expert or group of experts can be costly. Comparatively, using an outsourced IT partner allows your business access to the latest technology and knowledge about how to use it. For instance, when moving your office to a larger building or better area, it’s helpful to utilize an IT support and relocation company to ensure your IT needs are handled. Any data and networks will be appropriately discontinued or transferred to your new premises, system setups, and networks.
IT support professionals can also help with digital strategies like how to use e-platforms to reach your clients, and how to stay cyber safe while doing so. When introducing the online collection, use, and storage of data to your business, owners should be equipped with the knowledge of how to handle it securely. Lastly, with vast experience in the IT sector, your IT provider can sufficiently cater to your business’s particular industry needs.
Creating More Digital Jobs vs Traditional Jobs Improves Growth
Africa is in dire need of job creation, especially if it’s to hit its projected goals for growth in Agenda 2063 written by the African Union.
Creating startups in the digital sector alone isn’t enough. Rather, policies focusing on digitalization should be implemented across as many business sectors as possible. To do so, workers must be trained to handle the new skills their digital jobs require. Businesses need to be encouraged to use more digital tools like having their own websites, utilizing digital marketing, and so on. Widespread internet connectivity and affordable data plans are of the essence.
Providing Internet Connectivity Improves Access to Tech Tools
While Africa still struggles to keep up with other regions of the world as far as internet stats are concerned, its internet usage is growing rapidly.
It’s obvious that having an internet connection is essential for bringing in technological business tools that rely on using it. As more individuals begin to have access to the internet, opportunities arise for them and others. It’s critical that 1) affordable 2) widespread 3) high-speed internet becomes readily available to Africans than it currently is. This requires financing by governments in Africa and other countries that want to see Africa thrive. The current “Digital Transformation Strategy” aims to have 300 million more Africans online by 2025.
Conversely, individuals need education on how to use digital tools. Initiatives are popping up to provide this education, especially for women and girls, and particularly in rural communities. These groups need it the most. Rural communities with digital access have a great advantage over those who don’t.
Accessing Ecommerce Provides More Income Opportunities
While selling goods to foreigners visiting small local villages provides a meager income to those who need it, with the aid of technology, the available market is widened and multiplied exponentially This is why innovative African entrepreneurs have begun adopting and using Ecommerce platforms. It’s already helping many in Africa provide a reliable income for their families.
However, if sellers or small business owners aren’t computer literate or don’t have access to certain devices, it’s hard for them to grow their businesses in this way. It’s easiest for startups to tap into the market potential here by assuming users will use smartphones. That’s how the majority of users will be reached.
Enacting Tech-Friendly Policies Helps Facilitate Further Growth
Because Africa must grow in terms of IT at much faster rates than other regions have in the recent past, there must be a coordination of policy to facilitate this growth. One way to deal with this is to push the development of IT in certain sectors first, such as those that have an organized infrastructure already set in place; i.e. education, health, etc.
Also, governments must be involved when it comes to setting up basic needs for staying connected, like the proper supply of electricity and mobile networks. When the government invests in technology, African businesses can attract investors from around the world.
Rules and regulations about online interactions are also a factor, which consider aspects like freedom of speech. Additionally, policymakers need to work with those in other countries to create standardization around issues like data privacy, how to handle cybercrime, and so on.
COVID Lockdown Continues to Push Faster Adaptions in Tech
Whilst the pandemic has created a global crisis and turmoil for international health, there have been a few benefits regarding African digital transformation because of it.
Most notably, it has pushed Africans to shift their practices and evolve their adoption of technology. One example is the increased use of mobile money transfers between individuals. For African businesses, startups have begun creating innovative solutions to these new issues and are turning to tech to solve them. For instance, many African countries have initiated e-learning platforms for schooling after the onset of the pandemic.
Embracing Modern Tech is the Future for African Business and Citizens
It’s becoming ever more critical for those in the African community to connect themselves with Information Technology and all its usages. Digitalizing Africa can connect markets and businesses within Africa itself - and the rest of the world - for greater opportunity and productivity. At the same time, due to a lack of resources like investment capital, the vast opportunities embracing IT offers also come with a particular set of difficulties to overcome.
Yet, the potential to overcome these difficulties is strong. With investment aid from other countries and plans for transformative policy, possibilities are high. It isn’t a question of the African market’s ability to grow and thrive with technological transformation. It’s simply a matter of when African government, policymakers, and people are finally able to fully embrace it.