Over the past few years, recent headlines in the United States have praised the software industry’s integral role in economic growth. Since 2000, the software industry grew from a roughly $150 billion industry to $350 billion in 2016. It has outperformed the information processing, transportation and industrial equipment industries. In the first quarters of 2018 and 2019, the software industry grew by an astounding 11 percent. Technology in Africa is one example of the progress being made by software industries.
Tech Startups in Africa
The value that software and technology have added to the U.S. economy is undeniable. The tech industry in Africa has a promising future. Technology in Africa has grown the most in the startup world. There are two ways that startups and companies have specifically invested in African tech by providing supplements to improve education and agriculture. A variety of recent education startups under the category “edtech” have made news as they entered a Cape Town-based incubator called Injini. Three of the eight startups highlight recent technology in Africa to aid in education:
- Zaio is a service that helps students advance their coding and software development skills through online learning courses and practical challenge modules. Their goal is to enable students to land jobs in the tech industry.
- OTRAC is an online healthcare service that allows medical practitioners to continue learning about medicine through a variety of courses and modules. OTRAC and Zaio both show the focus of startups on education in more advanced, information-based industries, which are crucial to economic development.
- Traindemy is a general vocational and career-based program that offers training in a variety of technical areas and also offers talent and entrepreneurial coaching. Their mission is to fight and combat unemployment in Africa.
Impacts of Investing in Tech
In terms of agriculture, larger companies like Google have invested in tech that helps farmers in Africa. Using a product called TensorFlow, farmers can take photos of their plants to diagnose unhealthy or diseased crops. This product originated at Google’s tech-center in Accra, Ghana.
Investments in Africa have also occurred on a broader level. A variety of financial institutions, such as the CDC group from the United Kingdom and FinDev from Canada, have started an initiative called 2X Invest2Impact with a goal of reaching and empowering women-owned businesses. This initiative is partially due to the fact that Africa has the most women entrepreneurs of any country.
Grassroots and high-level initiatives are part of larger developments in Africa’s landscape. In countries like Rwanda, the population of educated people has jumped from 4,000 to 86,000 in just 20 years. Investing in technology in Africa means investing in the next level of growth in the tech industry and helping those in poverty gain access to educational opportunities.
– Luke Kwong