Although the situation varies across the continent. the general trend in Africa is that governments are becoming more stable and willing to partner with international firms to help grow the economy. In addition, Africa contains some of the world’s fastest growing economies, has a mobile-centric population growing at a rapid pace and is also a centre for mobile innovation. It’s not surprising therefore that some of the world’s largest and most successful technology companies are eyeing up its potential.
Technology giants such as Google, HP and Intel have all recently expanded their presence in Africa. Microsoft also launched its 4Afrika initiative last month — an initiative which should lead to the company spending an additional $75 million in the next three years over what it’s currently investing there.
More people access the internet via their Mobile device than they do via a Desktop or Laptop, which are considered far too expensive. The Microsoft initiative involves getting more people into Mobile, increasing access to SmartPhones, and helping small business get Online. Micrososft will also be launching a new Windows phone, with Apps specifically designed for the African market, called Huawei4Afrika.
However, there are still limitations. Africa lacks a certain level of infrastructure and it can still be very expensive to use the Internet. There is also a lack of skilled labour. To that extent, many of the tech companies investing in the continent are also investing in infrastructure such as increasing access to the internet, adding to the skilled labour force and setting up research and development centres.
Clearly there are challenges ahead, however with a youthful, ambitious population, Africa is potentially set to lead the way in innovation and growth in the Mobile sector.