Mobile technology - transforming the face of African business


As Africa becomes more in-tune with mobile technology, companies will be looking at what they can provide for their business operations as well as their local economies

According to a survey by the Africa Business Panel, the smartphone penetration rate in Africa increased from 76 to 89 percent between 2013 and 2015, and continues to grow at a rapid rate. The continent over the years has also seen a strong growth in mobile broadband use and data traffic. This has resulted in increased levels of communication among the public and companies attempting to become more agile in their business operations.
Investors overseas are also noticing the potential Africa has as a technological investment hub. As the technology improves there will be more opportunities for African businesses to take advantage of the innovative technology available, thus helping African nations to leapfrog over key development milestones and become key prospects for investors.
Nations such Rwanda and Kenya, are primed to take advantage of the latest mobile technology. Kenya recently pioneered the M-Pesa which has given the continent an avenue to trade and make transactions via mobile. Rwanda has introduced various technology focused action such as fitting fleets of buses with LTE routers to provide mobile broadband for passengers, SMS price caps whilst the removal of roaming charges for anyone using mobile data and traveling around the COMESA region. These African nations are amongst the growing number leading the mobile revolution and helping the continent to increase freedom of movement and expand financial inclusivity.
Sindiso Ngwenya, Head of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) comments: “Rwanda’s contribution to the mobile economy in Africa has positively impacted on the continent’s progress, and the government continues to springboard companies in order to further contribute to its growth. Flagship initiatives like the One Area Network have encouraged more trading freedom in the COMESA region due to cheaper tariffs. As mobile technology improves, there will be more opportunities to improve trade and build up Africa’s status as an investment prospect. Other nations need to follow Rwanda’s example and embrace technology if the continent is to prosper.”
Francis Gatare, CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) comments: “Rwanda’s phone penetration rate stands at around 70 percent and continues to grow. Ease of access and the government’s momentous effort to make the nation more broadband-friendly has made the mobile a viable trading option for both businesses and consumer alike. Though a mobile economy is only one facet of the puzzle of making not only Rwanda but Africa a technology-focused investment hub.”

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Issue 79


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