Future of Technology in Africa: Private-sector led ICT Integration

By Motoki Aoki

On June 3, German software giant Systems Applications Products (SAP) announced “Digital Africa,” a partnership with the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) that seeks to support the development of Africa’s digital potential. This program—one of SAP’s $500 million investment initiatives—will train 20,000 children in 11 African countries, underscoring growing recognition of the role of Information, Communications Technology (ICT) in driving broader development in Africa. The new partnership comes in recognition of the significant opportunity ICT driven initiatives present in Africa, both in terms of development impact and profit potential.  Here’s a review of that opportunity, and the trends that are driving it.

Access to mobile ICT technology has the potential to transform African economies.

Access to mobile ICT technology has the potential to transform African economies.

Diversified economy for Africa‘s high demographic dividend

Surprisingly, by 2035, the number of Africans joining the working age population (ages 15-64) will exceed that from the rest of the world combined. With the right conditions for sustainable job creation, Africa will enjoy a rapid-growing demographic dividend. Indeed, many Africans are migrating from rural to urban areas to search for better opportunities. This massive urban migration can be transformed into a positive, but in the short term it will stretch already limited public resources. Continue reading

Weekly Roundup

This week in development…

U.S. Development Policy/International Organizations

  • The United Nations has requested $1 billion for the first half of 2015 in order to eradicate Ebola in West Africa, especially for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the “epidemic has started to turn.” Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Dr. David Nabarro, the UN Special Envoy on Ebola announced on Wednesday the new appeal for increased aid focused on re-establishing important social services and improving the security of individuals in the region.
  • Andrew Lansley, the former UK Health secretary and leader of the House of Commons, is a potential appointee for the role of UN relief head. Lansley faces intense opposition from more than eighty major disaster-relief NGOs globally, who are concerned that his candidacy is driven by his political positioning and that his lack of inexperience could be a serious impediment to the disaster-relief sector. The 80 international relief organizations implored UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to establish a panel of experts to help him select the candidate, a move which could hurt Lansley’s prospects.
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) released a statement on Thursday with new data suggesting that private sector services and a rising care economy are expected to provide employment for more than a third of the global workforce over the next five year period. Many public sector services that comprise the service economy, such as health care, education and administration, will be important employment resources. This shift signals the changing role of policies to support enterprise and the labor force. It also illustrates an amplified engagement with opportunities interconnected to new technologies.

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