While the World has digitally transformed significantly in the past few years, we are currently left with only Africa to take that big step forward and join ranks with other countries, in going digital. But even though Africa as a continent has been slow in adopting technology, it is presently being viewed by tech experts as the next big thing when it comes to the future of digital.
Because Africa has all this advanced, modern, and fully developed technology it can use to develop its nation, it is considered a pretty ‘advantaged’ land. Africa will not have to waste time testing things out or experimenting with technological systems, rather Africa can begin with already tried and tested methods, and this is bound to put the nation at an advantage far more promising than other nations were.
In a previous article titled, Africa: ‘The growing digital economy, we saw how businesses in Africa can really upgrade their position in the market and vie with competitors when it comes to embracing a digital system for its work.
We also saw how digital incubators around the world have; in Africa, the ideal market to put their expertise to the test and really help African businesses take that step and go digital, and with it, global.
In this article, we’ll see how this digitalisation of Africa would help the ordinary African citizen whether it be a city dweller or a low-income earner who lives deep inside a village far from the urban lifestyle.
How will digitalisation help ordinary citizen?
Think of a business that is run digitally, such as Uber. When an African country that doesn’t yet have Uber functioning in it, gets an app-driven commuter service such as Uber – it will largely benefit that nation economically.
Not only will Africa’s citizens who want to become Uber drivers make the decision to invest in a car for themselves, but with it, their life gets easier in multiple ways.So, car manufacturers in that country will receive more business with the purchasing of cars, and besides more people will start getting familiar with smartphone devices, through which they will have to book an Uber. Internet penetration will most definitely increase.
Currently, Africa stands at a very low internet usage level – 39% compared with the rest of the world. And those who have had a hard time getting from place to place, will now suffer no such hardships. An entire town that previously had selected access to other towns by means of only a few rich people, will now exponentially grow with the ability of any citizen to travel with the services of an Uber.
That was just a small example and shows how digital transformation could be a game-changer for the African people. It is an opportunity to boost economic growth and industrialization, alleviate poverty, and no doubt, improve people’s lives.
When businesses invest in digital technology, that creates innovation in multiple areas and job creation in many key sectors of the economy, and this causes greater interconnection of African markets with one another and with the rest of the world.
When there is an increase in opportunities for collaboration across teams of all kinds, this will enhance both market and financial access for all, particularly in marginalised areas neglected by traditional financial institutions.
In addition to increasing sales, and empowering all people that come into contact with it, we should keep in mind, that digital transformation is broad and it is also a holistic system.
It covers a huge number of processes, interactions, transactions, technological evolutions, changes, industries, and so on.So when there is a disadvantaged group of people, such as some African communities that don’t even have access to the internet, this holistic system of digital transformation is bound to unravel, over time, a lot of improvements in living conditions, living logistics, and overall well-being.
Promoting digitalization in Africa will maximize services that are in most African nations a dire necessity such as health, education, transport, agriculture, and facilitating access to basic social services.
Digitalization will reduce the digital gap and inequality, including isolated countries and regions in Africa that are excluded or under-served, and it will make room for activities that serve e-commerce and the exchanging of wealth for Africa with other nations.
Women and girls, especially those living in rural and poverty-stricken communities, are most likely to benefit from the digital divide. So when preparing for bridging that gap, it is vital to educate the people, to develop and hone digital literacy and digital skills, particularly in the field STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, so that they will have the skills necessary to take advantage of the growth and prosperity promised by digital transformation.
Inexpensive, accessible, and reliable internet is critical to closing this digital gap and reducing these inequalities. It will greatly contribute to enhancing the human capital of Africa, and providing new opportunities for not just young people, but all Africans.
Digital transformation is an ongoing journey. The change it promises takes time and work, but it is profound, and positively influences all aspects of a country – its economy, its businesses, and most importantly, its people.
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