Africa’s mobile revolution has offered entrepreneurs an opportunity unlike any other to disseminate products and services that can contribute to inclusive growth on the continent. It enables digital innovation that allows African entrepreneurs and developers to leapfrog technologies, creating access to previously unavailable services for the majority. Africa’s internet capacity, mobile device usage and smartphone penetration is growing faster than any other region in the world leading to two key features: revolutionary digital infrastructure across various sectors and more Africans having access to and using technology. The mobile revolution now has a strong foundation with cheaper mobile phone devices and lower connectivity costs
Africa is seeing the same technology innovations that are emerging in developed countries, however, they are used in a unique manner. In Africa, technology is not replacing or assisting existing infrastructure; it is creating the infrastructure where there is none. Brick-and-mortar clinics, schools and grid-powered electricity are not in place across vast swathes of the continent and they will not reach every rural village or urban slum in the future. Instead, these services will be provided more and more through innovative mobile technologies, reducing the need for expensive physical infrastructure.
In its ability to democratise and increase access to more affordable services that have, until now, remained inaccessible to the majority of Africans, technology has the potential to play a huge role in ensuring inclusive growth on the continent and opening up new opportunities for aspiring Africans by laying the groundwork for inclusive growth through technology. Through this infrastructure, previously unserved and underserved populations have greater access to affordable innovative solutions that improve their livelihoods and make their lives easier. There is now a growing number of Africans that are being included in the economy and therefore have more access to social services like education, health, energy and transportation.
The innovative power of fin-tech in Africa is boosted by the convergence of different technologies to resolve logistical and distribution challenges. In developed markets there are exciting innovations in big data, internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS), on demand services and blockchains. In Africa we see the same innovations, but they are often even more effective because they are integrated in one application.