Digital transformation in Africa has been a subject of discussion and research for some time now. A recent World Business Review (WPR) highlighted the impact that mobile technology and digitization have had on Africa’s economy, specifically in terms of improving competitiveness and opening up opportunities for development. The report also highlighted that there are many challenges still to be addressed as Africa’s digital transformation progresses, and that the pace is likely to increase in coming years. The authors pointed out that African governments need to adopt an integrated approach to the use of digital technologies, including mobile, to ensure that the benefits of digital transformation can be fully realized by the continent.
Mobile technology has been transforming Africa for some time, but it is only now, after a decade and a half, that there have been substantial improvements in connectivity. The WPR reported that by 2020 the majority of Africans would have access to mobile networks that are capable of accessing high-speed internet. Mobile telephony has already established itself as the most popular means of communication in sub-Saharan Africa, and this is likely to continue to improve. As more businesses look to Africa to expand their operations, the mobile market will continue to grow at an impressive rate. The growth rate is likely to level off over the next few years, according to the report. However, the growth rate is expected to remain high due to the increasing numbers of mobile users.
Digitalization is likely to continue in Africa, with improvements in connectivity making existing telecommunications infrastructure more usable. As well as this, new applications become available. One such application is text messaging, which is currently available in some parts of the region but is yet to be widely available in others. Some argue that this holds back development, while others see text messaging as a key to increasing job opportunities and revenue in some areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
Digital transformation Africa is also seeing an increase in the use of transformational technology for business. Transformational technology identifies strategies and techniques that help businesses streamline their operations and improve their bottom line. There are a number of software applications available, which can be customized to suit the particular requirements of the African business.
Some of the software applications available include payroll systems, risk management solutions, product catalogues, inventory management systems, time and labour resources management, customer relationship management and manufacturing control systems. There are also software applications that provide a platform for retailers to manage their supply chains, identify vendors and streamline transactions. The increase in Internet access and consequent advancements in communications technology is believed to be one of the reasons for the increase in transformational technology. Another important development is the creation of online portals where businesses can register new clients, interact with their past and present clients and acquire new clients. In addition, there are a number of websites that allow businesses to showcase their products and services to prospective customers.
The adoption of transformational technology by African businesses is likely to spur further growth in the African economy, creating more job opportunities and generating revenue in the process. This will only be possible, if the business is able to incorporate the latest technologies and market them effectively. As the number of companies expands, the need for capable managers will also rise, resulting in the consistent upgrading of business strategies by the businesses.