Why Africa is attracting global brands

Posted on October 13, 2015 12:00 am

Over the last few years, social and mainstream media outlets have been carrying stories how a rising number of African technology firms are poised to emerge as global technology leaders with their own cutting-edge solutions and a growing reputation for innovation. The rise of these new African innovators has come at a time when markets across Africa are experiencing explosive demand for computing devices of all kinds with far-reaching implications for the technology industry and the continent. There are several beliefs that form basis of this misperception of Africa as solely a consumption location and not a hub of innovation. African technology companies have for long been bursting with brilliant ideas but inadequate capital, political upheavals, below par business climate lubricated with malpractices like corruption and nepotism have crippled any development. However, African companies are now playing a critical role in technology industry through research and development, design that are now being used by world leading brands like Google, General Electric, Nokia, Samsung,Facebook among others.There is another misconception that buyers in Africa are only interested in buying cheap devices and not high-end products.

Such myths have been proved to be awfully wrong as African continent has seen rising income levels and the desire for access to the latest technologies more than ever before.One classic example is the ownership of iPhones that are said to be more 10 million of them each acquired at an average of $600.In African cities like Kampala, Luanda, Lagos, Cape town, Cairo, Dakar, Nairobi, Dar es salaam, Accra – you are likely to see teenagers with Samsung Galaxy S6, iPads among many other latest smartphones more prominently that even some Western cities where incomes are dwindling and pockets are running dry while in Africa the situation is the reverse. African consumers are known to often go for the latest and more advanced technology products that available on the market. Statistics from the World Bank shows that Africa’s rising middle class is set to grow from 300 million people to 500 million in the next 15 months and majority of them are expected to increasingly afford the latest devices.Another factor is the will by consumers to invest in first-hand experience on these new devices.

A myth that needs to be dispelled is that when it comes to the device that African consumers are likely to purchase and that most of them never choose between buying a portable computing device or a smartphone while others do so for show off. Rising incomes has enabled African consumers to own multiple devices and it has been fascinating to see a good number of governments realise the great importance of the personal computers as a tool for learning and improved productivity. Governments are actively promoting wider adoption of computing in education and business with countries like Rwanda, Kenya,Zambia, Namibia as well as the republic of South Africa. Together, these trends translate into a significant growth opportunity for innovative African tech companies. The latest figures show that African countries will account for one thirds of global PC market growth in the next five years. Combined with their focus on product innovation on portable devices African businesses have a golden opportunity to emerge as key market and driver for global technology leaders.

Contador Harrison