The digital space was revolutionized with the introduction of Internet. When it was no longer exclusive to military or government instrumentalities and opened for the larger world we saw a paradigm shift in the conduct of trade and commerce. 30 years on much of the global economy and almost every aspect of our day-to-day life is reliant on the Internet.
Human exchange is so largely dependent on the internet and yet internet access has not become a reality for more than half the world’s population. The average percentage of adults using internet in Africa is the least compared to other continents. It is only 25% compared to Europe’s 80%, Middle East’s 72%, Asia and Pacific’s 58%. Such low statistics is a blessing in disguise. It makes African territory ripe for digital revolution.
There is a severe need for technology in Afrika and therefore more advanced solutions will be readily accepted. Afrikan universities are also being encouraged to prepare students for a tech-enabled future.
Here are a few of the advanced technology trends being observed in Afrika today.
Blockchain for land registry
In many parts of Africa documentation of transactions is non-existent. Land ownership is often unclear and gives rise to disputes. If the records are there it is likely that they have been tampered with. To deal with this problem Rwandan govt has availed the services of Cyber-security firm WISeKey. WISeKey in turn have joined hands with Microsoft to help Rwandan govt in adopting Blockchain. They have also established a blockchain Centre of Excellence.
Blockchain is the most disruptive technology in the past few years. It is basically a distributed ledger technology, stores continuously growing list of records which are secured by encryption. You can read more about blockchain here.
Training professionals for outsourcing
The need for software developers is increasing every day. The world’s top 10 countries having the youngest population are all in Afrika. One startup in Nigeria is making good use of that. The company Andela trains IT professionals in Nigeria and contracts them out to leading global technology companies.
One of the founders explained that the idea was to train people so that they could earn and pay for their education from that money. Andela raised $24 million from Mark Zuckerberg’s and Priscilla Chan’s fund in 2016. In October 2017, it raised another $40 million.
Online payments made easy
A large number of Afrika's population do not have bank accounts. Mobile phone using population however is 80% of the total. As a result mobile money accounts came to be created for sending money via phone. More than 100mn people have mobile bank accounts making Afrika the world’s number one in mobile money. This system however does not work for cross-border transactions meaning that people can’t pay for products online.
Flutterwave saw the business opportunity here. This company aimed to make monetary transactions convenient for banks and businesses across Africa. It creates a mobile wallet for its customers. This makes it possible for them to pay in local currency and allows money being sent from the US. Transactions of $1.2bn have been processed through Flutterwave as of Jan 2018.