Africa is Ready for the next wave of digital disruption

Africa is ready for the next wave of digital disruption

By Veronica Motloutsi – in her personal capacity

While in Kinshasa, a city determined to make a full recovery and heal the scars of years of conflict and civil war, I thought of one thing which is what will make this city leapfrog and readies itself to join other African countries as a fascinating destination.  What kind of innovation while propel this city to move forward.  This is not the challenge only for Kinshasa but for many African cities.

What not to like about a city controlled by enormous robots, complete with arms, legs and smiling faces.

Africa’s socio-economic challenges forces will soon forces the country to be the early adopter of technology.  In the era of digital disruption, Africa, has responded very well in terms of the adoption of new innovation breakthrough.  Our continent is embracing technological, most especially the digital.  This disruption will work in our favour, and sets us apart from other big markets.  Data is becoming more accessible, growing number of digital devices, high mobile adoption, access to high speed internet connection (5G), low cost sensors will enable the machine to machine interactions, which is the next wave of innovation, the Internet of Things.
According to PWC Report (Disrupting Africa: Riding the wave of the digital revolution), Africa has observed following megatrends
·     Changes in demographic and social structure, 50% of the world’s population growth between now and 2050 is expected to come from Africa
·         Shift in global economic power, 350 million belongs to the middle class in Africa, this means that Africa has the fastest middle class population in the world.
·      Rapid urbanisation, Africa has seen the biggest population migration, it is expected that the continent will has 12 megacities by 2025.
·         Lastly technological breakthrough, Africa has the highest broadband growth rate across the world.

Right now in South Africa, we can report service delivery through an app, the next wave to remove the human interaction to ensure the efficiency delivery of services.  Lack of governance, corruption and government inefficiencies will create more appetite for this wave of innovation. The move to a new generation of 4G and 5G mobile connections will open further IOT possibilities, by turning everything from a TV to a toothbrush into a constantly monitoring and communicating smart device.

Internet of things (IoT) has been called the next industrial revolution – it will definitely change the way all businesses, government and consumers interact with the physical world.  IoT will be as transformative as to the world as it was with the first Industrial revolution.  The top three industries that adopt IoT in Africa will be Health Care, Agriculture, and retail.

In terms of health care, we estimate 400 trillion devices will used for health care by 2020. Connected healthcare devices will collect data, automate processes and more.  Currently we have technology in use to detect signs of ill health and remind people to take regular medicines
Africa is ready to the new wave of innovation, and disruptors must take following into consideration
  •     African challenges are unique, there western model will not necessarily work, also, no model can be  transferred intact from one African country to another, Mpesa is a good example.
  •    African we are good collaborators, collaborate with other disruptors (entrepreneurs), you will get           resistance from big players
  •    Work closely with the regulators and policy makers
  •     Use your innovation to empower the lives of people


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