April 26, 2021

Due to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa is experiencing its first recession in over 25 years. Even though there is no miracle fix or fast cure to improve the economic crisis in African countries, we can comfort ourselves by knowing that whatever happens, digitisation will play a major role in the future of the African continent.

According to the UN Secretary-General, we can expect to see a world that is focused and driven by technology and even more digitised than what it was before.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has had some harsh effects on society, it has also shown some promising signs of recovery in the form of broad-based digitisation. In this particular case, something good has come from the bad.

Africa still has a long way to go before everyone can feel and reap the benefits and rewards of a digitized society. We live on a continent that is in desperate need of technological influence to move forward and develop economically in the future. If we don’t keep up, we will fall behind and will continue to fall behind even further. We might even end up missing out on the technological advances that the rest of the world get to experience and appreciate daily.

Research done by the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development indicates that an estimated amount of $109 billion would be required to provide a universal, affordable and sustainable internet connection to the entirety of the world by the year 2030.

When we compare this estimate to the African continent we soon come to realise that it would be close to impossible to provide the entirety of the African continent with a sustainable internet connection.

One of the major causes is that Vodafone, one of Africa’s leading telecommunications investors only spends a total of $1 billion on network upgrades across the continent annually.

Furthermore, government budgets have been constricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and technology had to take the back seat while imminent needs such as medical care and preventing the spread of poverty and famine are attended to.

In the ongoing battle between businesses that are competing to improve customer attraction, localisation has also started to become quite popular and playing a diverse role in the business sector.

Localisation solely focuses on adapting and improving a particular product or service to suit the needs and specific locale of a customer. The locale includes aspects such as the culture, linguistic and physical aspects of the client/customer.

Communication is key when doing business in any country, especially African countries because one can only fully understand, comprehend and dwell on business matters once one can communicate and understand each other verbally.

My advice to anyone who is looking to do business with any African country or countries is to learn the native languages or at least a few keywords and phrases before approaching potential clients or pitching an idea. Communication has the power to connect people on various levels.

Several factors play a role and may jeopardize and influence the progress and growth of turning the African continent into a digitized and localised community. We have to be patient and continue to keep our focus on bettering Africa not only as a continent but also as a business realm for future investors.

Businesses that are operating in Africa are in a race against time and each other to become fully digitized and prevent the fear of being left behind. The world is undergoing rapid changes as everything that we once knew and grew accustomed to are shifting and evolving around technology. Luckily for us, we are evolving and adapting to the times and changes that this new digitized era has to offer.

Technology is no longer a luxury item or service but has shifted to being an absolute necessity. Digitization has become the driving force, growth and shaping of economies worldwide.

Countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and The Ivory Coast are in the process of formulating ideas and testing plans on how to expand and adapt the implementation and usage of advanced technologies to transform, simplify and extend economically and socially, including in African countries.

For digitization to be successful on the African continent, strategic planning and implementation are crucial to reaching desired outcomes.

We have to be realistic about the barriers or challenges that might arise when we leap forward into creating a digitised society. Only once we have successfully removed or worked around our barriers, would we be able to focus on turning Africa into a digitised continent.

Investors should put their money where their mouths are and I mean this in a very literal sense as telecommunication companies are the window or shortcut when it comes to going digital. Access to reliable and high-quality bandwidth internet connection is essential when introducing the benefits of technology to the business sector. Investment in telecommunication companies is the key to this introduction and a paved road to building a digitally-enabled economy.

It is no secret that Africa’s population is growing at an alarming rate but if we act now and adopt new technologies into our daily lives and how we do business, we can leap straight into the future where a technologically inclined world awaits.

Digitization encourages the development of new industries. The banking and finance sector in Africa has already adopted numerous strategies to evolve and transform digital banking initiatives. By implementing these initiatives, it will allow financial inclusion for individuals. This can even be taken further and be the direct result of a country or continent’s growth and productivity. Unemployment rates will decrease while increasing the availability and access to technology and other digitized advantages.

To continue to grow and expand our usage and implementation of digitalization, we need not forget to stay on track by making use of various technological advances to expand and build and transform societies. The worldwide economy is searching for ways on how to improve skills and knowledge about technology to succeed in becoming a digitized world.

We are constantly surrounded by digitization and technological devices. It changes the way we go about our daily lives and becomes part of who we are as individuals.

Technology holds the power to change not only a single country but the entire world. It is making its way into the daily facets of our lives in various forms. We are responsible for encouraging and guiding our youth onto the path of creating a better, more inclusive and digitized future. Diversity and inclusion expand the affluence of ideas, inventiveness and analytical problem solving which is required in building a strong and sustainable basis on which we can continue to build.

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