Ads Top

Technology to create access to African Markets

The time has come for Africa to realize and embrace the importance of technology and the potential of accessing borderless and innovative markets. The digital revolution in Africa is booming with the growing affordability, improved accessibility while the largely untapped opportunities made technology accessibility coverage growth so rapid.

Technology and digital connectivity is at the heart of prompting development not only by increasing the availability of goods and services online but also creating a network among innovators allowing them to work together and compete virtually.

According to Disrupting Africa: Riding the wave of the digital revolution latest report, mobile connectivity is well advanced in the continent however internet availability and coverage lags behind. On the other hand less than 30% of African people have access to mobile broadband connectivity compared to 43% in Asia and only 15% have internet connectivity at home.

Improvements in internet access and the availability of new generation devices could not only boost connectivity but also create platforms for business developments. Online businesses and e-commerce services have explored the continent, creating multimillion dollar ventures like Jumia Travel, Uber, and kalahari.com. Numerous other online ventures have also invested on the business creating easier access to market with better pricing than physical shops which tend to be expensive. This has promoted online transactions and online trade generating new kind of revenues for countries.

However, whilst the continent has recognized the importance of technology and connectivity, the need to develop existing infrastructure, including payment options and payment systems continue to be a massive challenge. Across the continent telecom service providers are improving infrastructure and expanding services although operating under a limited capacity. Experts point out that online commerce has the potential to revolutionise trade in the same way as it has in Europe, Asia and North America bringing development to the continent.

The continent’s shared initiative to transform into a technological hub is also paving way for revolutionary market systems and trade beyond the previous market confines. Innovative businesses create opportunities for more employment and entrepreneurship that goes beyond borders. Africa has a rapidly growing infrastructure with broadband fiber optic cables, 3G and 4G networks rolling out internet to the growing number of customers. The smartphone market is also rising rapidly allowing customers to have easier access to transact online. Nevertheless, so many still have hesitation to purchase online particularly on high value items mostly due to fear of online scams. Many are still reserved to put their financial details on their online transaction. This has made online transactions in Africa to focus on the cash on delivery system, encouraging the public to build confidence on online transactions which eventually expected to be turned into online payments.  

Although not always recognized, online transactions create traceable business activities which help reduce cases of tax evasion and reduces corruption. Improving logistics and reducing price of online transactions and increasing literacy rate to enable people operate online transactions will not only create an organized and digitized market system and profitability to small businesses, but will also contribute to economic developments for countries like Ethiopia, supplementing their development initiatives.  
By Eden Sahle. She can be reached at eden.sahle@jumia.com

Technology to create access to African Markets Technology to create access to African Markets Reviewed by IFEDAYO AKINWALERE on 6:41:00 pm Rating: 5