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Tech Trends in Africa for 2018

January 1, 2018

In mid-December, CNBC Africa ran an interesting article on promising tech trends on the continent in 2018.  See https://www.cnbcafrica.com/news/technology/2017/12/19/top-4-african-tech-trends-look/


CNBC argues that with a young population of early-adopters and an improving infrastructure from telecommunications to payments, tech investment in Africa in 2018 is likely to eclipse record-breaking growth of 2017. Trends include:


Local approach by global firms

CNBC cites Google as an example of adopting a local approach. Realizing that building an African consumer base will require data optimization in a world where 1GB costs 9.3% of average monthly income across the region, and following a launch in India, Google expanded its data-friendly YouTube Go app in Nigeria to enable consumers to save videos for offline viewing. The tech giant also recently announced the launch of Android app Datally, which helps consumers see which apps consume the most data and provides suggestions on how to conserve data usage.


Blockchain use The greatest impact will likely be felt in sectors such as digital identity, fintech, and legal contracts across public and private players.


Africa’s informal economy. Enhanced rollout of infrastructure in the region paves the way for startups marketing right-priced software-as-a-service platforms allowing informal merchants to have access to the same services as members of the formal economy: point-of-sale systems, simplified accounting portals, access to credit, and inventory management. 


Increased corporate investment in African technology.  Ecobank launched a fintech challenge in January 2017 to identify innovators across the continent. In June, French telecommunications firm Orange pledged EUR50 million (US$56 million) to the creation of Orange Digital Ventures Africa, a new arm of its early-stage investment program. In July,  Alibaba’s Jack Ma announced the creation of a US$10 million African Young Entrepreneurs Fund.  Honeywell in partnership with the African Economic Revolution Fund, Google, Facebook, and Nigeria’s Access Bank have all announced their own accelerator platforms.


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