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Digital Innovation In Africa Is On The Rise

Africa will soon have the world's largest working-age population -- so why aren't network providers providing more opportunities?

08/08/2017 03:58 SAST | Updated 08/08/2017 11:26 SAST
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If local cellular networks do not concede when it comes to lowering data prices, South Africa may miss an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of digital innovation in Africa. Nigeria currently enjoys some of the most interesting developments in product development. According to a report by GSMA Intelligence 2017, Nigerians boast up to 86 million unique mobile subscribers, making it a technology developer's playground.

Products such as YouTube Go -- which give exclusive attention to data sensitivity and shareability have launched exclusively in Nigeria for this very reason. However, what makes South Africa supremely unique in contrast to its competitor Nigeria, is that even though South Africans sit at a lower subscription rate, the country still boasts a higher connection figure as mobile users tend to have multiple contacts with cellular providers.

This unique selling point gives network providers the opportunity to lower data costs in order to boost subscription rates. Imagine a world, where young digital innovators could use technology to solve some of Africa's unique issues. Digital entrepreneurship is a market which shows extreme potential as Africa is fast becoming the world's largest working-age population.

According to estimates released at the Google For Nigeria conference last week, by the year 2034 Africa is expected to have the world's largest working-age population of 1.1 billion -- yet only 3 to 4 million jobs are created annually.

With a continent that is so young, how come South African network providers are not using the opportunity to groom the internet market -- creating new opportunities for economic development and innovation.

African web users are already taking the first step in making moves in the digital economy.

Here are some of the trail blazers:

She Leads Africa

Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osei launched an online network where women could encourage each other and exchange skills from their various fields of expertise. The network endeavours to support the business ambitions of African women. The business makes use of the "lean in" theory as a motivator for women to challenge themselves to achieve more.

Abacus

This is a mobile business which allows clients to manage their investments in one destination. This mobile business was developed by Joel Macharia and it is fast growing to become a leading online investment brokerage service.

Godimo

This is an app which is Africa's first mobile learning and personal development outlet. As a mobile learning platform Godimo enables you to develop yourself with courses for students, entrepreneurs, professionals, and vocational workers.

African web users are already taking the first step in making moves in the digital economy and if this trend should see us compete in the global digital economy in no time at all.