November 28, 2022

African Digital Capabilities

Innovative solutions and continued foreign investment make Africa a melting pot of technology.

It’s no secret that Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world – bolstered by businesses and start ups with innovative solutions to specific digital challenges and creative offerings that propel each nation’s workforce and its consumers into deeper digital integration. With increased foreign investment and confidence in Africa’s Digital infrastructure capability (think Google’s new advanced AI research Centre in Ghana & Microsoft’s announcement of new offices for the African Development Centre in Kenya & Nigeria) supported by Investment Schemes & Specialized Economic Zones – It is becoming clearer that the potential for digital growth in Africa cannot be ignored any longer. Foreign Direct Investment rebounded strongly in 2021 despite the global effects of the Covid Pandemic with a record $83 million creating further opportunity for countries like Rwanda, Ghana & Kenya – all fast-becoming digital hubs in the region – to reach new heights of digital capability and offering.

Though the USA represents the highest number of investors in the top 20 largest disclosed deals in Africa, local and government initiatives and investments are also having a heavy impact to ensure Africa’s future as having superior digital capability:

  • Kenya – The Ajira Digital Programme in Kenya has over 10,000 youth on basic introductory skills for online work.
  • Kenya – The launch of 5 studios under the Studio Mashinani initiative and development of 11 Constituency Innovation Hubs (CIH).
  • South Africa – University schemes have led to 59,000+ engineering, ICT, & science graduates per year
  • Initiative – through the HackLab Foundation – to impact 1 million young Africans by providing access and learning of digital skills


Investment and incentives keep connectivity and access affordable and universal which is vital to the drive for continued growth and potential. Currently Africa’s internet connectivity and fibre optic cabling are below the global average of 62.5% which major investment contributors are aiming to remedy (including Google, Vodafone, Facebook, MTN & more). Nevertheless – 473 million Africans are already online with a further 300 million expected to join by 2025, indicating untapped potential. The World Bank for example estimates that just a 10 percent increase in mobile internet penetration could translate to a total of a 2.5 percent increase in GDP.

A young and rapidly growing population of Africans joining the workforce each year (an estimated 20 million) with demand for an increased digital economy and digital prowess indicates a huge opportunity for economic shift which will put Africa on the map for future businesses looking to establish low cost Data Centres, Operational Facilities with high speed connectivity (the 2Africa cable system & Equiano subsea cable project will double the continents total internet capacity), and make use of  a diverse landscape of innovative and digitally enthused businesses & workforce.


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