The digital transition in Africa takes place according to the degree of connectivity. Internet access in the continent is disproportionate, depending on countries or economic and geographical situations.
Africa plays an important role in global growth, but must catch up with the world standard in terms of internet access, to better capitalize on its potentialities.
The digital revolution is on, in all global economic and social sectors, but Africa has to improve “digitally”, to accelerate growth. The slowdown in growth has been noted, caused by problems of internet access, (price and connection speed.) That is now affecting the employment and development sectors.
In a report “The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa”, published in May 2017, The World Economic Forum declared that “Sub-Saharan Africa (…) is still not prepared for the imminent disruption of jobs and skills generated by the fourth industrial revolution “.
The report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) entitled “Information Economy Report 2017” indicates that the increased digitization of the economy will create a strong need for new skills, change working conditions, affect the functioning of the labor market, as well as the international division of labor.
This report on digitization, trade and development describes a “pyramid of ICT skills in which future job seekers will be ranked”, with a strong preference for profiles with tech-skills, citing Tech Entrepreneurship (using digital tools and services to reconfigure business models, create new businesses and deploy technological tools and services to transform various aspects of the digital economy).
According to Ecofin, “Countries that will benefit from a digital infrastructure and a population with ICT skills will have more decisive assets in terms of competitiveness in the new economy”.
However, access to broadband internet in Africa remains poor. While several countries such as Mauritius, Seychelles, Gabon and South Africa are making significant progress, the majority of the continent remains poorly covered.
Thus, connectivity is key and has to improve in African countries looking for growth. Digital is currently at the heart of employment and development challenges.
Finally, Internet access in Africa should not be seen as a problem, but rather a big opportunity for investors and other experts in digital technology. In fact, entrepreneurship in the continent is very dynamic, with the launching of important, productive and promising initiatives by young companies and startups. Nevertheless, many of them are still facing the challenge of Internet access.