Why the time is now to invest in Africa

The African continent has lagged behind the rest of the world in multiple regards for too long. Following the information revolution of the 21st century, Africa has struggled to keep up and is arguably more ‘disconnected’ now than ever as the world goes online without it.

Indeed, while 98% of the population of Northern Europe have access to the internet (against a global average of 62%), just 26% can do so in Eastern Africa, and 24% in Middle Africa – the lowest rate of internet adoption in the world.

On an individual country basis, the figures are even more extreme. Eritrea and the Central African Republic have the highest level of offline populations worldwide at 92%. According to the data, the only more disconnected place on earth is North Korea.

Not only this, but Africa’s lack of infrastructure means that even where internet access is available, exceptionally slow speeds render it far less useful as a tool than it is considered to be elsewhere. While Western home broadband speeds regularly surpass 100 megabits per second (Mbps), the average download speed in some African countries, such as Ghana and Sudan, is under 10 Mbps.

This is all about to change.

During the pandemic in 2020, nearly 20 million more Africans subscribed to a mobile service than in the previous year. 4G connections are also set to double over the next four years, and as of June 2021, there were seven commercial 5G networks in five markets across sub-Saharan Africa.

The World Bank is also aiming to fulfill its promise that every individual, business and government in Africa will be digitally enabled by 2030 through its #DE4A initiative – a Digital Economy for Africa.

Such progress tells me that Africa’s best days are ahead. To continue along this path of positivity and complete the journey, we need sufficient (and the right kind of) investment – both public and private. I am convinced that now is the time to commit.

This is because Africa’s historic ‘disconnect’ is now its greatest asset: an untapped market for tech companies who are facing total market saturation elsewhere. But don’t take my word for it; take Google’s. It is no wonder the biggest player in the tech world last year committed an investment of $1 billion in Africa to run over the next five years. And Google’s 2021 joint report with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation forecasted Africa’s ‘e-conomy’ value would reach $180 billion by 2025.

Investments like this are sure to have multiple and positive knock-on effects. More jobs in tech for Africans means more investment in training; greater technical skills lead to higher incomes, more spending power and greater GDP. Could the digital revolution be the key to Africa’s evolution?

Now is the time to invest in Africa; contact me to learn how.


african couple looking at phone