Africa Opportunities

Africa eyed as talent and innovation hub for tech companies


Despite globally being known to be a downtrodden and underdeveloped continent, several top tech CEOs have continued to visit Africa for its prospect as a source of innovation and talent.
This is highly dependent on the many resources available in the continent alongside its teeming youthful population as the continent houses 226 million youths.
The youths constitute 19 percent of the global youth population as of 2015 with the projection that by 2030, the number of youths in Africa will have increased by 42 percent.
Jack Dorsey Twitter CEO is the most recent top tech CEO’s to visit the continent. He had a month-long trip in November to Africa and visited Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South-Africa.

In Ethiopia, Jack listened to startup pitches and in Nigeria, he had meetings with entrepreneurs and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Twitter board member who formerly worked as managing director of the World Bank.
This series of events Jack Dorsey experienced in the continent is an emphasis on the importance of the savannas for global companies to keep growing.
Airbnb’s Brian Chesky and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella where the first set of world’s biggest tech businesses have visited the continent in 2015.
They were followed by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg visiting Kenya and Nigeria in 2016, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai came in 2017, while then Alphabet’s Sergey Brin visited the following year.
Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has come to Africa in 2017, twice in 2018 and again this year.

Africa, source of innovation and talent for top tech CEOs

With all the clumsies and challenges facing the African continent, Tech giant CEOs continue to visit. They continue to visit not for the market but also they seem to recognize the potential of the continent.
CEO’s dedicated more and more time on these trips to meeting African entrepreneurs.
They discuss emerging technologies with local experts and go to universities to interact with local students.
Jack Ma did his recent visit to Nigeria visited the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and had to interact with students there.
During Jack Dorsey’s visit to Ethiopia, the twitter CEO endorsed Betelhem Dessie of iCog Labs in Ethiopia as  ‘the most incredible soul in the entire world.
In the same vein, Jack Ma Alibaba CEO awarded Temie Giwa-Tubosun of LifeBank in Nigeria a prise.
It might be easy to dismiss the importance of these trips by CEO’s to Africa, but there are indications of growing interest in the continent from ‘tech giants’.

Africa, a goldmine for tech firms

Much of the continent’s innovation successes are based on the widespread adoption of mobile phones. If not these, many tech giants wouldn’t be looking at Africa if it weren’t for mobile technology.
As of July 2019, the GSMA estimated that 456-million unique mobile subscribers existed in sub-Saharan Africa as the continent remains the fastest-growing region globally.  Around 52 percent of mobile subscribers use mobile internet on a regular basis.
In the same vein, Mobile money too with 396-million registered mobile money accounts.
These accounts provide access to financial services to many.


Daniel Abel

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