Technology expected to drive Africa’s digital revolution

Posted on April 9, 2014 11:12 pm

There are unimaginable levels of information richness and new ways of engaging with it mean users are not only passive consumers who browse and download information from the Internet, but also active creators who upload and share their own material with others. The side of the digital economy that will drive revolution in Africa is the supply of digital content and services that attracts less attention in the region but is emerging as a formidable social and economic force. It will continue to grow as technology connects more people in more than one billion people continent. African culture for example has been driving innovators in the continent to design innovations that explores how this participatory culture has flourished in the digital age because it enables African population to connect, niche-to-niche, and make an international force of otherwise isolated cultural manifestations. South Africa for example has turned to Vuvuzela as an instrument of soft power and the rainbow nation pop culture first gained African-wide popularity thanks to the rise of satellite broadcasting pioneered by DSTV.

Today, South Africa producers are using social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to attract tech-savvy and culturally curious audiences in Africa and other parts of the world with astounding success. The South Africa Trade Association found that 90 percent of respondents from a survey carried out in 2011 that Vuvuzela has positively influenced the purchase of South Africa products. In 2012, South Africa cultural exports, including films, music and TV shows, grossed more than $700m in Africa and beyond. Nigeria on the hand, officially the biggest economy in Africa after overtaking South Africa is also beginning to turn its attention from manufacturing to software system and content development with Nigerian music popularity growing by the day with likes of D’Banj, P-Square and Eminado’s hit singer Tiwa Savage among others. The government set an ambitious goal of turning Nigeria into the hub of app creativity, with plans to produce thousands of app programs and train thousands of app-software specialists annually. Software innovation requires a different mind-set because it cannot be achieved without a deep understanding of people and culture. In Africa, competition and innovation is now more about people, cultures and social experiences. Facilitating and supporting the digital revolution is a challenge for the current generation of leaders in Africa.

Contador Harrison