Page 1

Special Edition N500/USD5.00

...Bridging Africa’s Digital Divide

Africa: Opportunities Beckon on ICT Investors Nigeria is a viable investment haven- NITDA AG,DG

Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014




Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014


About us Publisher Dr. Evans Woherem

General Manager/ CEO Nneoma Ofodile

14- 25 »

Editor Rommy Imah +234 802 354 2332

Reporters Kola Adigun Obiora Sunday

Editorial Advisers

Africa Is Blessed With Great Talents In Software Innovations - Israel

12-13 From Las Vegas to Lagos, Nigeria




Why Investors Should Rescue Africa’s ICT Sector



Prof. Joe Amadi-Echendu Mr. Austin Okere Engr. Biodun Omoniyi

Board of Directors

Nigeria Is A Viable Investment HavenDaura


Financial Controller Francis Amah

Design/Layout Kelle’s Shop

ICT: The Benefits of Investing in Africa

Head Office: No. 35, Iya Abubakar Crescent, Jabi District Abuja FCT Tel: +234 803 632 2600


Lagos Office:


Putting the National Software Records Straight (1)

Dr. Evans Woherem – Chairman Dr. Mayuri Odedra-Straub Mr. Tony Smith Dr. Armstrong Takang Mrs Phil Okoroafor Mr. Fredrick Apeji

No. 1, Okotie Eboh Street, Off Ribadu Street, Ikoyi, Lagos Tel: +234 809 512 1534



Digital Africa Magazine is a monthly publication of Digital Africa Global Consult. ©All rights reserved. Reproduction in whatever form, in whole or part is prohibited unless by permission.


Home Automation System

Lighting Control Temperature Control Security Multimedia System Sound Diffusion Door Entr y System

Control lighting and appliances throughout your home remotely from a smart devices. You can dim lights while watching a movie or having dinner, or schedule lights to turn on and off while you are on vacation. Stay green and save energy by checking to see if any lights were left on, or turn off anything that is plugged in. +234(0)803 365 3605

nigeria limited Official Par tners


Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Digital Africa Global Consult Evans Woherem, Chairman

a member of various professional bodies locally and internationally.

Dr. Evans Woherem is an accomplished computer systems expert, Africa’s most famous banking technology professional, and a highly respected adviser to banks, leading companies and governments on ICT matters. He was an Executive Director of IT & Operations at First Bank of Nigeria Plc, and Unity Bank Plc, from where he retired in 2011. Evans Woherem is the MD/ CEO of Compumetrics Solutions Limited, the Adviser-in-Chief of Ivory Learning Academy (a premier ICT training school), the Chairman of Caranda Management Services Limited (a leading business outsourcing company), and the Chairman of Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition. Dr. Woherem is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, where he obtained a Certificate in Advance Management Program (AMP). He has B.Sc. Behavioural Science with emphasis on Organizational Psychology, M.Sc. Cognition, Computing and Psychology, M.A. Economics and Social Studies, and PhD in Expert Computer Systems.

Mayuri OdedraStraub, Director

Nneoma Ofodile, GM/CEO

Ms Nneoma Ofodile holds the LL.B degree in Law from the prestigious University of Lagos. She also holds a BL degree and was called to the Nigerian Bar in October 2004. She is currently in the process of finalising her MBA degree in Service Excellence from the University of Wales, United Kingdom. She brings her wealth of diversified and multidisciplinary Professional and management experiences from aviation, construction logistics, and law to play at Digital Africa. She is

Dr. Mayuri Odedra-Straub has had the privilege of living and working in many different countries (Kenya, Zimbabwe, England, Singapore, India, Japan and Germany) and cultures. Her work experience is also a rich mixture of teaching, research, consulting and publishing on ICTs for development, especially on Africa. Her passion for travel, and wanting to make a difference to other people’s lives, made her start her company, ETOSE, which organizes ethical tours of India and Nepal on a regular basis. She also works as a freelance consultant on various areas to do with development and fund-raising.

Tony Smith, Director

Tony Smith founded Limitless in April 2011 in Seattle, WA. Limitless designs, manufactures, and distributes consumer and business technologies to the global markets. Today the growing product and service line-up includes television, mobile, and media devices, as well as software, services, and accessories. In addition to Limitless, Tony Smith also founded the Consumer Electronics and Technologies Industry Association (CETIA) of Africa, and serves as its chairman and CEO. CETIA is a non-profit organization serving as a resource for small and large businesses focused on the African market. In his previous careers, he was a key participant on the business development of Microsoft, Boeing Commercial

Board Profiles Airliner and Scripps Networks Interactive. Mr. Smith is active in the nonprofit community. He has been a board member of several public service organizations, spanning education, development, human rights, healthcare and disaster recovery. He has also been a leader of several trade and industry organizations. He currently serves as the Chairman of the World Electronics Forum (WEF). Smith has a master’s degree in business laws. Since 2006, he has been a partner at Longa & Associates, a law firm based in Paris.

Phil Okoroafor, Director

Mrs. Phil Okoroafor graduated with honours from the University of Port Harcourt, bagging a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Chemistry. She has more than 15 years of diversified professional experience in Integrated Marketing Communications, Event Management and Public Relations. After a brief stint as the Public Relations Officer of Fotosynthesis Nigeria Limited following a year at the Transcorp Hilton (Then known as Nicon Noga Hilton), she cofounded Red Sapphire Nigeria Limited in 1996 and has been a critical factor in nurturing the organisation, seeing it grow from a threeman business into the foremost Event Management Company in Nigeria’s Capital Territory with over 100 members of staff working in both permanent and auxiliary positions. Phil is a proven entrepreneur with a keen analytical mind. She has, through diligence, hard work and resilience, risen to the position of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Red Sapphire. She is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Abuja Chapter and keeps up-to-date with changes in the industry through continuing professional development.

Frederick Apeji, Director Mr. Frederick Apeji graduated

with B.A. English from University of Maiduguri in 1990. He has had a chequered working experience, over the past 22 years, in business journalism, press advertising sales, corporate communications, publishing, and public relations consulting. He left the Corporate Affairs Department of Unity Bank Plc in 2008 to start his professional brand consulting firm. He is the Managing Director of Alford Conferences Limited. In addition to Digital Africa Global Consult Limited, he sits on the Board of Amfire Exhibitions Limited (design and branding of customized trade exhibition booths) and Raphos Real Estate Limited (an urban mass housing company). He also serves on a voluntary capacity as the Media & Publicity Secretary of Agbekoya Farmers’ Association FCT Chapter.

Armstrong Takang, Director

Dr. Takang is the managing director/chief executive officer of Alteq Ltd and has over 15 years of worldwide experience in the provision of ICT consulting, project management and implementation services across multiple industry segments. He has worked and provided consulting services for such reputable organizations as Scottish Nuclear, American Insurance, JP Morgan Chase (formerly Chase Manhattan Bank), Toyota and Deutsche Bank. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, USA. The Ethiopian government has employed his services at the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation and at the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry. He has authored several papers and also coauthored the textbook, “Software Maintenance: Concepts and Practice” (1996 and 2003).

Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014


From Las Vegas to Lagos, Nigeria


s you are reading this magazine, the 2014 edition of the world flagship Consumer Electronics Show, is either still holding in Las Vegas, the USA or it has been rounded off. This particular edition of Digital Africa Magazine is specially packaged to celebrate Africa’s biggest and most visible participation in the age-long event. Digital Africa Global Consult, publishers of Digital Africa Magazine had in July 2013 entered into partnership with Consumer Electronics Association, CEA of the USA. The partnership allows Digital Africa Global Consult to organize a delegation of qualified business professionals from Africa to CEA’s annual trade show- the international CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA from the 7th-10th of January, 2014. CES 2014 conference presents an opportunity for Africa to unveil the best of her innovations, exchange ideas with major players in the industry and witness the trends in end user expectations. This is the first time Africa will actively participate at the CES as exhibitors. It is the premier CES destination where retailers, venture capitalists, manufacturers and other key attendee groups will find budding entrepreneurs, fledgling start-ups and home grown innovation. All Exhibitors will also have the opportunity of attending the super-conferences and listening to the key-note addresses. On the other hand, Digital Africa Global Consult is a new and innovative company that seeks to turnaround the ICT sector in Africa and reposition the continent towards attaining the global standard of ICT. The company is founded on the evidence that there is a tremendous need for Africa to move from being a mere bystander or passive participant in the global ICT industry to being a dominant innovator and user of digital technologies. The company’s current products are the annual Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition, the annual Digital Africa Award Series and the Digital Africa Magazine. It is no longer subjected to debate that the importance of technology as an agent of transformative growth and development of national economies cannot be overemphasized. That is why nations such as China, Japan, India, Brazil and South Korea have joined the league of technologically advanced nations through strategic investments in digital technologies. Despite the efforts by a few African countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, to exploit ICTs for social and economic development, Africa as a whole has largely taken a back seat in the on-going technology revolution. In effect, Africa has remained a bystanding, passive consumer of ICT products. The motivation for the institution of Digital

Africa is to move Africa from the position of passive consumers to active producers and innovators of digital technologies. Some of the ways we are doing this is by creating a platform for discussions and knowledge-sharing at the annual Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition; rewarding excellence and creativity through the Digital Africa Awards; and the publication of the monthly Digital Africa Magazine for information dissemination. The Annual Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition is a 3-Day annual event that Digital Africa Global Consult brings together the Continent’s Information and Technology Sector as well as the major users of ICT hardware, software, solutions and applications. The aim of the conference is to promote a better integrated Africa, using modern ICT tools. It is also an important platform to network, share knowledge on the latest developments in the ICT world, do business and close deals. Departing from the usual gathering of “ICT people talking to ICT people,” Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition targets sectors of the society that are major consumers of ICT. We are already planning a bigger and better Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition 2014, leveraging on the success of the 2013 edition. The 2014 edition will hold in Lagos on May 2022, 2014. It will simultaneously hold with the 19th World Electronics Forum, WEF, the revolutionary gathering of CEOs and Directors of Electronic Industry Associations worldwide. It promises to be a must-attend event as ICT industry leaders from across the globe will be converging in Lagos to cross-pollinate ideas and explore the opportunities for the advancement of ICTs in Africa. As we converge in Las Vegas for the CES 2014, my expectations are that African ICT and indeed international entrepreneurs should build on the success of the Las Vegas event and make the Lagos event a huge success. Exhibitors, innovators, manufacturers and venture capitalists are expected in Lagos to be part of the success story we are going to tell about the 19th WEF and Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition 2014. I would therefore, like to invite all of you to take advantage of this special opportunity to participate in this event as we work towards giving Africa a pride of place in the global ICT marketplace especially now that the emphasis is on exploring the opportunities in Africa and investing in helping to bridge the digital divide. Once more, I welcome you to the 19th World Electronics Forum (WEF) and Digital Africa Conference & Exhibition 2014 holding on May 20-22 at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos.

Dr Evans


As we converge in Las Vegas for the CES 2014, my expectations are that African ICT and indeed international entrepreneurs should build on the success of the Las Vegas event and make the Lagos event a huge success.


Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014


Why Investors Should Rescue Africa’s ICT Sector


ost African countries are presently facing a period of harsh economic realities and are operating programmes for structural economic readjustment. The availability of powerful, cheap and easily transportable IT systems, which can be used to improve the administration and management of private and public sector organisations, has meant that IT has potential positive implications for organisations in Africa. What this means is that African countries can use IT to improve the management and productivity of both their private and public sector institutions. It is now obvious that IT can enhance decision-making, administration and management. In fact, IT has become increasingly indispensable in the management of government administration, organisations and projects all over the world, as it helps in the improvement of information flows. It has been argued that investments in ICTs can be oriented towards consumption or production. Practical experiences in the world have shown that investing in ICT consumption might contribute mainly to human and knowledge capital, while investment in ICTs production seems to be a more effective tool for development of the whole society.

In both cases ICTs can create new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. For Africa, a continent that missed out on some of the earlier rounds of infrastructure investment, it is critical not to miss out on the next round. In particular, Africa’s future prosperity will depend on its level of integration with the global economy, and this will in turn depend on its connectivity. At the regional level too, as the post-war experience of Western Europe has shown, greater regional integration, promoted through trade, communication and migration, can promote economic and social development. As it’s rightly argued elsewhere, the spread of Information and Communication Technologies hold the promise to greatly facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This is in line with the ‘Tunis Agenda’ of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society of 2005 held in Tunis, asking for the expansion of investments to capacity building and to create regional infrastructure extending the application of ICT infrastructures to different development sectors. It is against the fore-going that this magazine is calling on investors from the technologically developed nations of the world to begin to see the glaring investment opportunities abundant in the continent of Africa. The scramble for the soul of Africa at this moment should be how to invest heavily on the opportunities in the continent’s ICT sector.

t is against the fore-going that this magazine is calling on investors from the technologically developed nations of the world to begin to see the glaring investment opportunities abundant in the continent of Africa.


Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014


ICT: The Benefits of Investing in Africa


n what was then known as the ‘New Imperialism’ period, the scramble for or partition of Africa took the centre stage. It was a period the continent of Africa, against her will, was forcefully invaded, occupied, colonized and annexed by European powers. That was between 1881 and 1914. Perhaps, as a panacea for the political and economic rivalries among the European empires, in the last quarter of the 19th century, the partitioning of Africa forestalled the Europeans warring amongst themselves over Africa. No doubt Africa is the world’s secondlargest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With 1billion people (as of 2009), Africa accounts for about 15% of the world’s human population. During the colonial era, almost the entire African continent was at the mercy of European colonialists who saw in Africa, a profitable continent to explore. So as the century moved on, it was obvious that the objective of the European explorers changed, and rather than travelling out of pure curiosity, they started recording details of markets, goods, and resources for the wealthy philanthropists who financed their trips. Ever since Africa came under the control of the European imperialists following the continent’s colonization up until lately, the Western media has taken delight in reporting so many unpalatable things about Africa. For them, nothing good can ever come out of Africa except evil. In the article, ‘The After Effect of European Colonization on African People,’ Onwutalobi Anthony Claret noted thus: “That Africa has been an “altruistic repository” where all media from the west search and tap their awful stories and news to tell the world is a fact we have to live with. Most times, they paint Africa more than black that it is. Have you ever travelled outside of Africa before? Or have you ever been confronted with questions that are based on stereotype? “Maybe you have (not). To be direct, examples of stereotypical questions go this way: Where are you from? If you happen to say Africa or any country in Africa, the next question maybe: Is there any building in your country?

Or do you guys still live on trees? Or are you guys fighting wars now?” Demographers, economists, industrial and agricultural experts believe, and evidently too that Africa possesses all the ingredients to be the planet’s dominant economic engine for decades, perhaps the entire 21st century. Those ingredients according to Mike Obel of International Business Times, are already lifting a continent once ignored by all but novelists and revolutionaries into the big leagues of global economic dynamism. If it is accepted that Africa’s economy is growing faster than the economies of every other continent, and that about one-third of Africa’s 54 nations have a yearly gain in gross domestic product of more than 6 percent then, there is no gainsaying the fact that Africa will not only dominate global economy this century and successive ones but will dictate the direction of the world economy for a long while. Several factors are responsible for this positive story of Africa. Today, Africa has graduated from a continent of autocratic military dictatorships to near liberal democracies. There are little or no military coups any longer. The continent is progressively embracing market forces which in turn, are bringing down inflation. Today, whereas the African trade is growing rapidly and actively too with a reportedly $2 trillion economy; the continent’s desperation for education has been a major contributor to her economic growth. Above all, Africa is ranked world’s fastest growing telecommunications market. Mobile penetration rose from a dismally two per cent in 2000 to 78 per cent today and is expected to rise to 84 per cent in the next two years. So, there are enough reasons why every right thinking investor should be looking at Africa as the next destination point. Any investor, who is still looking at Africa with the pre-colonial and post-colonial eyes, would be doing so at his own peril. Investors should be coming to Africa now as opportunities abound in a continent so desperate and desirous of becoming a continental economic power bloc before the turn of the century. Quick Return on Investment, RoI is a guarantee for investors that are wise enough to tap on Africa’s most rewarding abundant opportunities.

Rommy IMAH +234 802 354 2332

. Today, Africa has graduated from a continent of autocratic military dictatorships to near liberal democracies.


Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Putting the National Software Records Straight (1)


re we ready for Broadband? Yes & No? What about the Brain-Band? Absolutely No! What will the Internet look like 20 years from now? Agile Software for the records is delivered to correct some recent impressions in Nigeria about Software Engineering Development Processes, layers and its corporate business architecture as an ordinary CODE. If you have read about (Gerald Weinberg or Alistair Cockburn), then this Philip Armour: you may conclude that “everything has been said, but not yet understood by the majority.” This write-up is focused on my evaluation of the “Five orders of ignorance of Software” – by Philip Armour. It is indeed about Software Agility and Agile methods, which is required to throw more light into the misconception that talking about Software Nigeria is just about Codes. It is NOT. Software Engineering Development is an innovative knowledge-chain and has become the centre of gravity of 21st Century development economy, nation-building and national survivability. It is not only the cement that glues the present global social, political, economic and production structures/processes together, but indeed, the digital blood that keeps humanity alive today and confidently reassures the digital natives of the future. The central message is that Software is indeed NOT A PRODUCT! By extension, it also means that indeed, if software is not a product, then, it absolutely becomes a knowledge acquiring activity. That also means that it is ultimately an “ignorance



reduction” activity which progressively reduces our ignorance of software system architecture of: ‘what the system is’, ‘what it needs to do’, ‘how it needs to do it’, and ‘how we need to apply, operate and use it as well as manage it’. For those who don’t already know of Phil’s work, the following information is necessary: One of the main premises of his book is that software is not a “product” in the usual production-oriented sense of the word, but that software is really a medium for capturing executable knowledge. He then uses this to submit that software is therefore, not a product-producing activity but rather a knowledge creating and knowledge acquiring activity. Another set of ignorance on Software Nigeria – perceived as given the Dog a bad name to hang him/her - is that only Software Nigeria fails! Another absurdity? Indeed, we know of some foreign software now classified as the very-public software failures that led to massive business failures (and billions of dollars down the tubes): Denver Airport, London’s TAURUS stock exchange, and the CONFIRM airline reservation project (not to think about the www dot coms bubble burst. All these are foreign software of International status. Some of them have also failed in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Software is indeed a dynamic knowledge project process. And on Agile projects, the work being done at any point in time is a function of what has been captured, learned and documented through the project process, up until the point in time of conceptualization. This does include the starting points of the expected plan, early contracted deliverables, and probable design approach.



The central message is that Software is indeed NOT A PRODUCT! By extension, it also means that indeed, if software is not a product, then, it absolutely becomes a knowledge acquiring activity.

Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Nigeria Is A Viable Investment Haven- Daura


National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA is an agency of government charged with developing and regulating Information Technology for sustainable national development. In addition, it is vision is to be the prime catalyst for transforming Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy. In the following interview, DR. ASHIRU SANI DAURA, Ag. Director General of NITDA speaks of the mandate of the agency and its contributions to the development of information technology in Nigeria. Excerpts….. manufacturing in IT.

Can we have an overview of NITDA’s contributions to the growth of IT in Nigeria? The need to bridge the digital divide and for Nigeria to effectively join the emerging global economy driven by information and communication technologies necessitated the approval of a National Information Technology (IT) Policy by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in March 2001. The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was established in April 2001 to implement the policy. The enabling Act on the establishment of NITDA was passed into law in April, 2007. Whereas the mission of NITDA therefore, is to develop and regulate IT for sustainable national development, its vision is to be the prime catalyst for transforming Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy. In terms of contribution to the growth of IT in Nigeria, NITDA has adopted a three-prong approach focusing on the following: Human Capital Development Infrastructure Capacity Development Institutional Capacity Development as a follow-up to visioning documents such as the Nigerian ICT4D Plan; National Outsourcing Policy; National Software Policy, and ICT Policy for states amongst others. With the various initiatives and others carried out by other government institutions in charge of ICT in Nigeria, regular Internet users in Nigeria increased from less than 200,000 in 1999 to over 46,000,000 by 2013. We now have computer assembly plants and several eGovernment initiatives are currently ongoing in various government institutions. We are also developing globally competitive human capital through scholarship scheme for postgraduate studies in core areas of IT. Can you let our readers know some of the projects embarked upon by NITDA to help bridge the digital divide? Under human capital development, we have organized various awareness workshops, training programmes and seminars for various sectors of the national economy. The aim is to create awareness on the potentials of IT deployment in these sectors. We have trained over 10,000 unemployed graduates in IT related skills and some of them have established small scale businesses in these areas. Under the scholarship scheme, over One Hundred and Forty have benefitted at Masters Degree level while about 18 are undergoing

NITDA is supposed to be the country’s flagship technology development agency; would you say the agency has done enough in providing the enabling environment to grow information technology in the country? Yes, the agency has done well especially with the various initiatives focusing on various sectors of the national economy

their Doctorate degrees in various universities across the globe. We have also established over 20 CISCO local academies. On Infrastructure, NITDA pioneered the use of Internet in government offices in Abuja while Mobile Internet Buses were specially designed to move round the country and provide internet access especially in local and underserved areas. We have since improved this through the deployment of about 320 Rural Information Technology Centres at different local government headquarters in the country. The aim is to provide access in all the 774 local government headquarters in Nigeria. In addition, we have established about 160 IT centres in different institutions of learning in addition to WIFI/WIMAX Connectivity for four Tertiary Institutions to provide internet access to over 20,000 simultaneous users in these schools. We have also collaborated with the private sector to establish Six Internet Exchange Points (IXP) in order to keep our local internet traffic within the country. On visioning documents, as a follow up to the national IT policy, we have developed the national ICT4D plan which is a strategic plan of action, programmes and projects on IT deployment in critical sectors of our economy. We have also produced a National Software Policy to encourage and promote the patronage of “Made in Nigeria” software. This has been followed with a national ICT Local Content Guideline to encourage local

What is NITDA doing to help grow local IT firms? NITDA has been able to achieve this by creating the enabling environment for investors in the sector through various government policies, awareness campaigns, collaboration, and through the various project/ initiatives being carried out by NITDA. Nigeria currently has about six (6) computer assembly plants while some applications are being processed. Government now has a policy and national guideline on the patronage of “Made in Nigeria” Hardware and Software. We are also collaborating with all ICT professional bodies to encourage investment in the sector. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) holding in Las Vegas in the US in January is an opportunity for Nigeria and indeed Africa to showcase her IT potentials and investment opportunities. Will NITDA be participating, and if yes, what will it be showcasing to the world? Yes, NITDA will participate. The Agency will take advantage of the event to showcase its initiatives especially those targeted at creating an enabling environment for investors. What investment opportunities do you think are there in the IT sector for potential international investors interested in Nigeria? Nigeria has potentials in human capital which foreign investors can leverage for growth. Also with Internet of things making its wave, investors will find potentials in mobile applications and service provisioning generally. Nigerian IT market is still emerging with over 170 million potential targets hence the country is a viable investment haven. Given the existing socio-economic status of Nigeria on the African continent and the various ICT initiatives currently ongoing in the country, there is no doubt that we have the potential for ICT hub in Africa and a global competition in the Hardware, Software and IT enabled services.


Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Africa Is Blessed With Great Talents In Software Innovations - Israel Africa is being promoted as the next global technology hub and the continent is said to be on the brink of unprecedented growth and prosperity. In this interview with MR. DANIEL ISRAEL, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Aadvark Nigeria Limited, he explains why Africa’s participation in this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is a platform for the continent to showcase her hidden talents especially in the area of software innovations.


frica will for the first time be actively involved in the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show holding in Las Vegas, USA early January 2014, what do you think the continent stands to benefit from this show? Africa stands greatly to benefit from CES because of the great platform CES provides to showcase and bring to light great and hidden talents especially in the area of software innovations. With over 150,000 visitors from all over the world visiting the show, it provides an environment for brands, markets and economies to converge. A great number of the big players in the industry would also be present and they would be coming to see for themselves what Africa has to showcase first hand. It is quite unfortunate that we have not been able to break into the field of manu-

facture of hardware and other related electronic products, but we have done considerably well in the software development arena. With initiatives like the Global matchmaking, entrepreneurs willing to invest in Africa would be able to come in contact first hand with Africans who have great innovative products and I believe that this can be quite instrumental in seeing more investments coming into Africa. CES 2014 is an opportunity for Africa to showcase to the world, the investment opportunities that lie in Africa. Do you believe there are investment opportunities in Africa? It is undoubtedly true that there are myriads of investment opportunities in Africa. Africa is being promoted as the next global technology hub and the continent is said to be on the brink of unprecedented growth and prosperity. Africa

has experienced rapid growth in the ICT sector and with over half a billion mobile subscribers, the continent is set to become a choice destination for telecom investors. Even though there are challenges to investing in Africa, the continent is still incredibly entrepreneurial and backed up with a wealth of highly skilled, resourceful and incredibly talented people. The mobile industry for example still offers opportunities for investment as the penetration rate on the continent is at a very low level while demand for mobile services remains high. Africa’s mobile transactions are spearheading the future of banking on the continent. Safaricom Kenya’s M-Pesa is currently dominating the East African mobile money landscape. Nigeria is also doing well in the

Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014 There is a great wave of investment in this sector as can be seen by the number of mobile Internet service providers but we can say that Africa is still in the early stage of adopting ICT. The boom in mobile telephony is however, helping to increase the penetration as technology companies are looking at broadband wireless access as the key to make Internet available to the population at large. With the proliferation of mobile broadband access, the cost of Internet is gradually dropping and more people are able to access it using mobile devices. The reduced cost of hand held mobile devices is also instrumental to the increase in the adoption of ICT in Africa. I believe that with the increase from about 7% in 2012 to 16% in 2013, there is an obvious increase in penetration and as it is believed that Africa is the next global technology hub, we would see a further increase in ICT penetration in Africa.

area of mobile banking, but these needs to expand to cover more parts of the continent. For penetration through Africa, the requisite backbone infrastructure still calls for a lot of investment in ensuring that the technology is available to the people. The area of energy cannot be left out. Africa has abundant renewable energy sources including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass, which are yet to be exploited. These are just a mention of few investment opportunities in Africa. How do you describe ICT penetration in the continent of Africa? ICT penetration is still quite poor in Africa with only about 16% penetration in comparison with the rest of the world.

What factors do you think are responsible for the poor ICT penetration in Africa? There are quite a lot of obstacles affecting the accessibility of ICT services in Africa and some of these factors include the level of computer literacy in the population. There is still a great digital divide within Africa itself with a concentration of users in countries like Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Mauritius, and Kenya as compared to the entire continent. Poor infrastructure is also another factor. Africa has vast rural areas that are not connected to power grids or the Internet. Overall bandwidth in Africa is scarce and its irregular distribution as earlier mentioned clearly reflects the African “inner digital divide�. It is a known fact that cable connection still provides the highest possible bandwidths. With few submarine cables connecting Africa to the rest of the world, there is an obvious scarcity of bandwidth. We are still relying on large and expensive satellite links with hubs in Europe and other continents. In general the cost of Internet and even more so broadband access is still quite unaffordable by most of the population. Affordability is therefore, another factor preventing the penetration of ICT in Africa. The subjection of African ISPs to European ISPs and the lack of clear international regulation of inter-ISP cost partition is also one of the reasons of high bandwidth costs to the African Continent. These are just a few of the factors preventing the penetration of ICT in Africa. We can go on but I think that the provision of adequate infrastructure would go a long way in ensuring increased availability and reduction in bandwidth costs. This would definitely increase penetration in Africa. Should investors decide to invest in Africa, what area of the ICT sector should be prioritized? The world is tending towards cloud sourcing and Software as a Service (SAAS). This greatly reduces the cost of deploying IT services and I believe that we should be looking at that in Africa as well to increase


availability of IT services. There would be a reduction in the cost of owning hardware and other overheads such as cost of providing power. If we would make this work then I believe that investors in Africa should be looking at the communication sector. We would be looking at increasing availability of bandwidth to the average Internet user and providing this service at a reduced cost. I would therefore, be hoping to see more investments in the provision of highspeed broadband Internet access over the entirety of the African Continent and bridging the digital divide. Mobile devices are greatly simplifying the way work is done and a lot can be achieved even from a mobile phone. It is just like real estate. Provide basic services like roads, electricity and water and watch developers come in to build. I believe that Internet access is one of the necessary ingredients to driving development generally in Africa. Do you see African leaders doing enough to grow the ICT industry? I believe that some of the leaders in Africa are actually taking steps at ensuring that the industry is growing. When we look closely at the transformational impact of ICT in Africa, we would see that Africa is advancing in leaps and bounds in the use of Information and Communication Technology in the public sector. Take a look at Kenya for example. The Kilimo Salama scheme is providing crop insurance for farmers, using the M-PESA payment gateway, helping them to better manage natural hazards such as drought or excessive rainfall. In Malawi, a deforestation project is training local communities to map their villages using GPS devices and empowering them to develop localized adaptation strategies by engaging communities. And in Mali, telemedicine is helping overcome the lack of trained healthcare workers and specialists in rural areas, specifically the IKON Tele-radiology program. Nigeria is not left out with places like Osun State integrating the Osun State Government Electronic Banking System of Revenue Cycle Management (OSSGEBS-RCM) that allows for online Direct Bank Lodgment System (DBLS) of the revenue collection process for taxes and revenues accruing to the state. I know a lot is still yet to be done by African leaders, but I think we are moving in the right direction. What will investment on ICT bring to Africa? Investment on ICT would definitely bring about technological progress, which is a considerable driving force behind economic growth. ICT infrastructure will attract great investments and this would generate significant fiscal revenue and employment opportunities in Africa. With the increase in the proliferation of mobile ICT networks, there would be a farreaching access and citizen participation platform. It would also provide a platform for accountability, good governance, sustainable economic growth and service delivery.


Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Africa: Opportunities Beckon on ICT Investors



Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Africa: The Investor’s Destination Point The African continent has been described as ICT’s virgin land, meaning that the land is yet untapped. Indeed, Africa is a continent of economic opportunities with a lot of potentials and huge returns on investment. In the following reports, our Editor, ROMMY IMAH (with agency reports) takes a look at Africa’s abundant investment opportunities and what potential investors especially in the ICT sector will stand to gain…….


aul Collier, a professor of Economics at the Oxford University in attesting to the abundant investment opportunities in Africa wrote in in June 2010: “Most international businesses are still not very aware of Africa’s investment opportunities. Information costs are high: Africa is fragmented into many different countries, and even in aggregate the continent is a fairly small economy. For several decades, investor ignorance did not matter: with few

exceptions Africa’s economies were too badly run for there to be many opportunities for firms of integrity. “But there has been a sea change—Africa is on the move. There will be ups and downs, but investors from the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) who remain set in their ways may be missing a giant business opportunity if they fail to pay attention to the changes afoot.” Collier argued that the situation in Africa quietly began to change during the period

1995–2005. During the period under review, profound macroeconomic reforms tamed inflation and opened economies to international trade. More patchily, the regulatory environment facing international business also improved. According to him, “Public ratings, such as the World Bank’s Doing Business surveys, enabled African governments to benchmark their performance and began to put pressure on those that were recalcitrant. As the global commodity boom built to its 2008 crescendo, many African countries were well positioned




Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014 to harness the spike in their export revenues for growth beyond the resource extraction sector itself.” Collier went further to argue that the upturn in national growth rates was mirrored in the increased profitability of companies operating in Africa. “Indeed, three distinct sources of data indicate that returns on investment are higher there than in other regions. One was a comprehensive study of the publicly traded companies operating in Africa for the period 2002–07, mostly in the manufacturing and services sectors. “It found that these companies’ average return on capital was around two-thirds higher than that of comparable companies in China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Another source, on the foreign direct investment of US companies, showed that they were getting a higher return on their African investments than on those in other regions. Finally, analysis of a series of surveys of several thousand manufacturing firms around the developing world found that, at the margin, capital investment had a higher return in Africa.” Africa is no doubt a continent of contrasts. With endemic poverty and political misconduct, the most widely understood characteristics, the nascent market power of an underdeveloped continent with a population that is over 1 billion people, is staggering. The African continent gave birth to the concept of the ‘Digital Divide’ and consequently, the endless quest on how to bridge it. But with a speed that has confounded even the most optimistic, Africa embraced aspects of information and communications technology at an envious pace. Over the past decade, growth in Africa’s mobile communications market for instance, has outstripped growth in the global mobile market by a factor of 2 to 1, and at the end of 2009 there were almost 450 million mobile subscribers. African ICT penetration is still well below global averages, and African teledensity is bordering on 50 per cent in a world where the 100 per cent mark represents no

Johnson barrier. It then means that members of the investment community, including investment bankers, development bankers, venture capitalists and private equity companies, angel investors, institutional investors and corporate investors, will find in Africa a profitable land to invest. Likewise, mobile operators,

fixed line operators, ISPs, telecommunications and IT equipment providers, software suppliers and professional services firms are still guaranteed greater opportunities to do business in Africa. The continent of Africa is definitely investors’ current destination point. Africa is today seen as the next global technology hub


and the continent is said to be on the brink of unprecedented growth and prosperity. ICTs are no longer a luxury for developing countries, including African countries and they are already creating new ways of communicating, doing business, and delivering services. Through extending access and use of ICTs, ICT

Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

financiers aim to stimulate sustainable economic growth, improve service delivery, and promote good governance and social accountability. The World Bank believes for instance that technological progress is a considerable driving force behind economic growth. “ICT infrastructure in particular has attracted much

investment, and generated significant fiscal revenues and employment opportunities in developing countries. The number of mobile phone subscriptions in developing countries has increased from 200 million in 2000 to 3.7 billion in 2010, and the number of Internet users has grown more than tenfold. “With Internet penetration at a turning point including in the least connected region, Africa, and with 70 percent of the population in developing countries having access to fixed or mobile telephone services, ICT networks now constitute a far-reaching service delivery and citizen participation platform. ICTs can be used as a vehicle to increase accountability, and can transform and extend the reach of service delivery to the underserved in an innovative, fast, and cost-efficient manner.” Since the late 1990s, when mobile network services started making inroads into African countries, there has been a meteoric rise in the percentage of the population living within range of a mobile network. In fact, as at 2009, nearly half of Africa’s rural population was close to a mobile network. No doubt Africa’s spectacular ICT performance so far is more driven by the successes recorded in the telecommunications sub-sector. It is evident that the large-scale investment made in this area has transformed telecommunications from an exclusive of the rich, privileged few to a mass market, low-cost service, used in rural and urban cities alike.




Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Africa has gradually become the investors’ haven owing to a number of factors including policy and regulatory changes, market liberalisation, effective competition and the emergence of very virile and strong institutions regulating the ICT sector. Mark Jennings, investment principal of the Investec Africa Frontier Private Equity Fund in an article published by How we made it in Africa said that there is still investment potential in this competitive sector, investors just need to look beyond the obvious and suggested that towersharing is a developing business opportunity that will reduce infrastructure costs for operators. “Investors should take heed of the fact that the mobile voice phone market in sub-Sahara Africa has grown by 61% per annum on average over the last ten years and we see no reason for this growth to end – just to take a different route. Those searching for growth would do well to look in the field of infrastructure outsourcing,” he argued. Technologically advanced countries in the world that have taken the risk to invest in Africa’s ICT sector are continuously smiling to the banks. Even in the face of the daunting challenges facing Africa’s overall economy, developed nations that have reaped from their investment in Africa are rather increasing their investment budgets in the continent. For instance, The People’s Republic of China has been strengthening its development and trade relations in Africa since the mid-1990s. Chinese telecom investment in Africa is only one of many “mutualbenefit” areas. As China seeks to secure natural resources, new markets for commercial expansion and allies in the UN, its African partners hope to build ICT infrastructure and increase new media access. The exchange between China and African nations is growing phenomenally despite the fact that African nations are torn between the tremendous acceleration spurred by Chinese investment, and their disapproval of certain Chinese

Zuma ‘business practices’ and China’s undisguised economic aggressiveness. It is evident that China has emerged as a key player in the investment and development of African infrastructure projects which include electric power, water conservancy, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and telecommunication. The country’s Commerce Ministry once reported that direct investment between China and Africa reached US $6.64 billion in 2006, making China Africa’s third-largest trading partner. China’s strategic relationship with Africa has ensured a steady supply of natural resources required to fuel China’s rapidlygrowing economy. For example, nearly a third of China’s oil imports come from Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, Equitorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria. Vigorous economic diplomacy has also positioned China as

the primary supplier of many manufactured goods in Africa, including arms and hardware. In recent years, Chinese leaders have frequently toured Africa, prompting the government to declare 2006 as “The Year of Africa.” China has not failed in aggressively encouraging Chinese companies to invest in Africa. For instance, in 2007 China launched the China-Africa Development Fund, which allocates investment funds for Chinese companies that plan to set up new operations in Africa. At the 2006 “Forum On China-Africa Cooperation” (FOCAC), the Chinese government pledged to “vigorously encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in the building of infrastructure in African countries, scale up their contracts, and gradually establish multilateral and bilateral mechanisms on contractual projects. Efforts


Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Jonothan will be made to strengthen technology and management cooperation, focusing on the capacity-building of African nations.” And true to the promise, in 2005, China Great Wall Industry Corporation, a state-owned hardware manufacturer, won a $311 million contract from the Nigerian government to manufacture and launch the NigComSat-1 communications satellite. The satellite was launched in May 2007 and it was reported

that China had played no part in the licensing and operation of NigComSat-1, but supported the Nigerian government’s purchase with a $200 million credit facility from EXIM Bank of China. In 2006, Huawei Technologies, one of China’s leading networking and telecommunications equipment suppliers, had won a $100 million contract to become the leading CDMA network provider for Nigeria’s Multi-Links, a Nigerian private telephone operator. The same year, the equipment supplier

announced that Starcomms Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s largest telecom operator, would deploy Nigeria’s first 1xEV DO-based mobile broadband network on its platform. While it opened its new Technology Support Centre and expanded its Training Centre for West Africa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, constituting a $10 million investment, it also announced a US$ 200 million memorandum of understanding towards the Phase II rural telephone network.




Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014 In Uganda, China drafted a deal in 2006 with the Ugandan government to loan $120 million for national ICT backbone infrastructure. The completion of the national ICT backbone would compete with the current link provided by the two national operators, MTN (256/512Kbps) and UTL (1.024 Mbps/2 Mbps). The Chinese government agreed to take over a five-year project which would help to overhaul the ICT sector. Then in 2007, three Chinese companies - Sagem, ZTE, and Huawei, were awarded contracts to lay down fibre optic cable in Kenya, creating a terrestrial network that will be connected to the planned undersea East Africa Marine Sytem cable. The new national network will alleviate Kenya’s reliance on expensive satellite service to route international and local traffic. Chinese companies won a similar infrastructure contract with the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation for $2.4 billion. ZTE, Huawei, and China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation were to extend the fibre cable in Ethiopia from the current 4000 kilometres to 10000 kilometres before 2010. In October 2007, Huawei donated Chinese telecom equipment worth US$130,000 to the Rwandan government. At the donation ceremony, Lou Qinjian, Deputy Minister of Information Industry, stressed China’s mutual benefits and interests with African countries. Though described by the World Bank as a lower middle income economy in spite of her enormous natural resources and vast population, Nigeria has been adjudged as the fastest growing ICT market in the African continent. “Nigeria is one of the biggest and fastest growing telecom markets in Africa, attracting huge amounts of foreign investment, and is yet standing at relatively low levels of market penetration,” according to BuddeComm. With over 121 million subscribers, Nigeria’s telecommunications market has globally

Cameron been adjudged the fastest growing in Africa only 12 years after the revolutionary introduction of the GSM mode of telephony into the country. Nigeria’s total GDP in 2012 was $262.6 billion, and it is projected by industry experts that ICT alone will account for 15 per cent increase in the country’s GDP by the year 2015 owing to government’s structured investment and regulatory intervention. Current ICT contribution to Nigeria’s GDP is 5.6 per cent. Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson stated recently that Nigeria’s IT industry has been “growing at about 20% year-onyear for the last five years.” In addition, there are currently 45 million Nigerians who access the internet on a daily basis while the country has a 6 per cent broadband penetration.

The GSMA had estimated that Nigeria’s SIM card penetration was at 67 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC is one of the best regulatory authorities in Africa and is globally acclaimed to be proactive and with the well-being of the consumer users of telecoms services in mind. It tries to monitor the quality of mobile communications delivered. An analyst once noted that the greenfields opportunity for market growth in the country is in the lower socio-economic classes, where disposable income levels are small. With the declining cost of handsets and tariffs, these individuals are now in a better position to become subscribers to mobile communications and are doing so. In Nigeria, operators have continually tried to produce products that will make mobile

LEAD STORY communications more accessible to the lower classes. With a most competitive fixed-line market in Africa, it is believed that the Nigerian market is still in a growth phase, although it is beginning to reach the growth plateau and will move into a maturity phase in the next few years. Investors can look at this area. The Nigerian government has been involved in the establishment of a number of investment promotion initiatives whereby it will provide funding support to investors that address certain types of investments, most notably those aimed at providing broadband access to specific stakeholder groups or communities. The government is also actively promoting electronics manufacturing in Nigeria on the basis that Nigerian ICT markets are big enough to support local manufacture. Nigeria thus offers a wide range of investment opportunities in a rapidly growing market. With the mobile subscriber penetration potential being more than 100%, there is ample room for growth in the market. National backbone coverage is limited and, in keeping with the government’s Vision 2020 initiative, there are plans underway to extend the backbone, which will provide additional opportunities for investors. Already, some undersea cables have berthed in Nigeria, and this is expected to yield a wide range of growth opportunities in making international bandwidth more readily available. The improvement in international connectivity will have a major impact on business in Nigeria. Even though Nigeria became the largest mobile market on the African continent in 2008, it still has a mobile penetration level of less than 50%, according to studies by Technology Strategies International, suggesting that there is ample room for expansion of the market. Penetration in the fixed line segment is dismal and there is a vast opportunity to improve internet penetration, the report points out.

Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Obam In Nigeria, the key opportunity areas include expanding the reach of the undersea cables, building out mobile infrastructure, turning investments into fixed wireless infrastructure into sustainable businesses, expanding the retail network for mobile, fixed wireless and Internet services, and in electronics manufacturing. The government is also actively promoting electronics manufacturing in Nigeria on the basis that Nigerian ICT markets are big enough to support local manufacture. Nigeria thus offers a wide range of investment opportunities in a rapidly growing market. The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, ISPON plans to raise N500million for the establishment of sustain-

able framework, structures, policies and strategies for the enthronement of a robust Software Industry for the nation. ISPON believes that the Software Industry can become an alternative to Oil with respect to revenue generation and wealth creation. However, the institute is concerned about the current alarming rate of national technophobia and in particular, the visible ignorance about the critical and significance role of Software in 21st Century National global development. By all indications, Software Technology can become a very feasible alternative to our national Oil revenue generation - currently put at about $12billion a year.




Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Opportunities, Opportunities, and More Opportunities...


CT in Africa remains an attractive business area, according to a recent report by the African Development Bank, AfDB. It is common knowledge that while public sector investment in ICT in Africa has improved considerably over the last decade; the private sector continues to be the key driver for investment and has invested close to $50 billion over the last decade. “In 2007, the private sector committed to increase investment in telecommunications from $35 billion to $50 billion by 2012,” highlighted the report. AfDB suggests that a significant potential opportunity exists for low and middleincome African countries in the IT-enabled services (ITES) sector, which will exploit available broadband infrastructure. According to the report, the ITES sector, which is ICTbased services such as call centres, represents a “$500 billion addressable market, of which only about 20% has been realised”. The report suggests further: “A huge potential exists for African countries that take concerted efforts in building the requisite infrastructure and advanced skills in software engineering, project management, networking and creating an enabling

legal and regulatory environment including laws for online transactions. “Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia have already tapped into the ITES market, the potential ex-

ists for increased employment and improved innovation in other countries,” suggested the report. There has been some progress in the area of National backbone provision-

LEAD STORY ing with countries like Angola, Ethiopia, Botswana, Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Burundi, Malawi, Madagascar, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Sudan having launched plans over the last couple of years for the development of their national backbone networks. But even with this, a substantial gap remains in the majority of the countries; opportunity investors can tap into. “Broadband network investments tend to follow regional trade and economic activities, with the goal of connecting profitable urban centres rather than rural and underserved areas,” explained AfDB. Head of the Momentum Asset Management’s Africa ex-Africa investment team, Fungai Tarirah, gave some good reasons why potential investors in Africa must avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the conti-

Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

nent to invest in Africa. Tarirah is of the opinion that African economies have contin-

backdrop for wealth creation; and this is happening at a time the pace of debt reduction in Af-

ued to grow faster than in most other places in the world, offering a strong background for earnings growth, adding that most African countries are currently growing at between 5 per cent and 7 per cent.. Further proof of this belief is the report that the continent recently topped the YPO Global Pulse confidence index, where more than 1600 CEOs across the globe, including 85 from Africa, were surveyed. Tarirah noted that Africa is resource rich, with an increasing focus on infrastructural development, and that in addition to favourable demographic trends pose huge opportunities for companies operating in African countries, increasing spending power of the African population and a burgeoning middle class stand to make companies profitable. He goes further to state that Africa now has an improved stewardship of economies and better political environment setting the

rican countries has been substantial over the past decade, making growth more sustainable. Besides, the cost of doing business in Africa appears to be falling quickly. According to ITNews Africa, there are some reasons why Africa ICT environment is attractive for investors. It listed among others: Infrastructure Africa’s infrastructure has improved over the past 5 years with new roads, airports, power plants and communication networks projects being planned and rolled out across the continent. In July 2010, African leaders launched a new programme for infrastructure development in Africa (PIDA), led by the African Union, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and African Development Bank (ADB). According to the website then, the initiative is said to have a budget of several billion dollars. Mobile Global mobile telecommuni-



Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014


cation companies that have taken the bold step of investing in the African mobile industry are reaping a high return on investment (ROI). A typical example is Bharti Airtel, a company that invested over $1 billion in its mobile operations in Africa. Bharti declared a profit of US $13 billion in Africa for 2010/11 financial year. The mobile industry still offers opportunities for investment as the penetration rate on the continent is at a very low level while demand for mobile services remains high. Mobile Money Africa’s mobile transactions are spearheading the future of banking on the continent. Safaricom Kenya’s M-Pesa is currently dominating the East African mobile money landscape. In the next 5 years the service will spread to the rest of Africa. In Uganda, the introduction of Mobile Money services in March 2009 changed the country’s entire banking culture. Mobile Internet Africa has experienced a massive boom in mobile phone access with more than 500 million active mobile phones across the continent. Africa’s Mobile internet uptake continues to grow at an alarming rate, with Uganda, for example, having grown by about 15% in less than 2 years. Africa’s vast mobile population is creating a new investment opportunity for mobile operators, content providers, smart card companies and mobile phone manufacturers. The African continent is at the heart of the mobile revolution. e-Government e-Government has arrived in Africa and great progress has been made to fully implement projects such as sms gov services and setting up information kiosks at various community centres. In South Africa, some local municipalities are investing and rolling out their own broadband services in order to build countrywide digital cities. In Kenya the government has launched an open data portal to provide citizens with access to Government data online. Most information from Africa’s government departments is disseminated to the public by

using various e-Government platforms including web, and mobile devices. Generally, there is a demand for e-Government solutions on the continent that service providers can tap into. Broadband There’s been a significant progress in Africa’s broadband investments with high capacity broadband projects being rolled out across the continent. These include the EASSY submarine cable, with a capacity of 3.84 Terabit per second that links South Africa to East African countries, Main One cable that links Portugal to South Africa, Glo-1, SAT-3, with a capacity of 120Gbits/s that links Portugal and Spain to West African countries and South Africa, SAFE cable that links South Africa to Asia, and SEACOM, an African cable system

that connects South and East Africa. The West Africa Cable System (WACS), a submarine cable with a capacity of 500GB, that links Southern Africa and Europe is set to double South Africa broadband capacity. In addition, a number of African countries have started massive projects to lay the fibre optic cables inland. These connections are set to drive down the cost and increase accessibility of broadband in Africa, thereby reducing the cost of doing business on the continent. e-Agriculture The use of mobile technology in African commercial farming is gaining momentum. Mobile phones are currently being used by farmers in various African countries to determine daily farm prices in local markets, process


Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014 with energy resources but most of it remains untapped. Some African countries have invested in cross border power trade and are actively working to reduce carbon emissions. In 2010, the World Bank approved 11 energy projects across the continent. e-Healthcare African Scientists and health professionals are using the latest technology to diagnose some of the continent’s most deadly diseases. For example Cellscope (a microscope attachment for cellular phones which is designed to allow field workers to take images of specimens and send them to an expert for diagnosis) is being used in Malawi to diagnose malaria, and there’s a demand for collaborative technologies that provide rural doctors with access to international experts during medical procedures in real time.

orders and to issue warnings of an imminent drought or severe rain. e-Agriculture has fast revolutionised communication between subsistence and commercial farmers. There is also extensive research and investment in Africa’s e-Agriculture sector Energy This is not strictly ICT related but energy generation is one area we felt should not be left out of any discussion on investment opportunities in Africa. A number of energy projects are currently underway in Africa, for example Eskom, a South African state energy provider is embarking on a R343 billion power generation drive that includes coal fired and nuclear power plants. In South Africa the Medupi Power Station project, a dry cooled coal fired power station worth R100 billion is currently being built. A major discussion taking place is green technology/ solar energy and how Africa can benefit from it. The African continent is endowed



Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014


African Youths, Technology and the Future


enerate Ideas from problems in your environment Africa is faced with a lot of problems no doubt; it simply means that there are a lot of opportunities in finding the solution to those problems. Studying the problems and proffering solutions to them using technology is what am talking about here. Generate ideas that will address those problems like poverty, lack of quality education, unemployment, social changes, bad governance, environmental challenges, technology deficiency, health and many others. You should also explore the use of Mobile phones and Mobile Internet then Mobile Applications; these are growing so fast in Africa. Jeff Bezos, the founder of said this about the Internet just before he started his online bookstore: “Anything growing that fast is going to be ubiquitous very quickly.” Seeing this about the Internet at that time motivated him to start Amazon. com and today Amazon is the leading bookstore on the Internet. m-Commerce , m-Health, m-learning, m-agriculture, m-governance, m-social etc. are some of the areas you can develop a mobile focused idea because Mobile is the future of Africa. Imbibe the Success Attitude The words of Thomas Edison, the great inventor suitably summarized the attitude you need to have. He said, “The most important factors of invention can be described in few words. They consist first of definite knowledge as to what one wishes to achieve, one must fix his mind on that

purpose with persistence and begin searching for that which he seeks, making use of all accumulated knowledge on the subject. “He must keep searching no matter how many times he may meet with disappointment. He must refuse to be influenced by the fact that someone else may have tried the same idea without success. He must keep himself sold on the idea that the solution of his problem exists somewhere and that he will find it. “When a man makes up his mind to solve any problem, he may at first meet opposition, but if he holds on and keeps on searching, he will be sure to find some sort of solution. The trouble with most people is that they quit before they start. In all my experiences, I do not recall having ever found solution to any problem connected with my work on my first attempt. “And one of the most surprising things is the fact that when I discovered the thing for which I am searching, I generally find that It has been within my reach all the time; but nothing except persistence and a will to win would have revealed it” Then open your eyes and ears for opportunities It is now time to open your eyes and ears for opportunities you can leverage to grow your idea. The money you seek to grow your business can come in any form. Use the Internet to explore several ways/ places you can get venture funds for African startups, partnerships etc. These days, there are various competitions, awards, grants going on for Africa Startups you should be part of, who knows one day, you may meet that Angel you seek!



These days, there are various competitions, awards, grants going on for Africa Startups you should be part of








@ 08036322600 or 08095036769; Email: Office Address: Digital Africa Secretariat, 35, Iya Abubakar Crescent, Jabi District, Abuja FCT

To be a part of this event, contact us:

28 Vol 2. No.1 JANUARY 2014

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you