Africa has long been recognized for its natural resources, and more recently for its increasing oil reserves, but little is said about it tech industry. Africa is slowly, but surely, making its mark on the world tech scene due to increased efforts by various administrations across the continent to attract capital in the region and increase research.
Kenya at the Forefront
Kenya is one of the countries on the continent that has seen the most impressive growth in its tech department. Increased investments from the government and good infrastructure are making the east African country a prime destination for tech companies trying to cut costs to outsource software development.
The country also counts many masters in software development graduates and the government has encouraged many new students to follow an online masters in software development from institutions like Maryville University. The growing demand for software development majors is being met in large parts from foreign talent and expatriates who have studied abroad, even though the local government is doing everything in its power to build more world class teaching institutions and build in house talent.
Apps Are Helping Bridge the Gap
Kenya is also at the forefront of online banking and online payments in the country. Safaricom, which is one of the country’s largest telecom companies, launched a new payment processing and mobile banking app called M-Pesa. What made this so extraordinary is that it instantly launched thousands of citizens who never had access to a regular bank account into the modern economy. The app can be used to conduct normal online banking transactions, make bills and merchant payments as well as transfer funds between two users. The service completely transformed the face of the Kenyan economy and had a direct effect on its recent economic growth.
Following the rumblings after the 2007 election, new technologies were devised to address the situation. Ushahidi was the brainchild of three developers who sought to create a crowdsourcing app. The app in question was used to map demographic events both in the country and the world. From this launch, Ushahidi went on to build a variety of applications in more than 20 countries.
Hubs Are Being Created
A tech blogger stated that Africa was in need of hubs that would act as incubators to spur technological development across the continent. The movement has gained traction and Kenya is also one of the biggest sites for incubators in Africa. With the increasing number of incubators, more developments are made which also attracts fresh new capital into the budding industry.
Kenya’s iHub Innovation Center, which is located on now tech-synonymous Ngong Road, has over 150 tech companies since 2010 and still continues to this day with over 15000 members.
Africa is no longer being left behind and is starting its own technological revolution. Only the future knows to what extent these advancements will change the face of the continent, but it seems hellbent on continuing its march forward.