The Africa digital market remains largely untapped. This is in considering the level of penetration of internet through the continent and the level of digital skills which is much lower compared to other continents. The situation is exacerbated by digital shutdowns experienced often through government actions. A recent shutdown within the continent was the shutdown of Twitter in Nigeria in June 2021. A panelist in our discussion on this issue notes that it is estimated that the continent has lost USD. 2Billion due to internet shut downs. Further, issues like culture and gender divide slow the speed of development of the digital markets in Africa.
As a result of the low growth of the digital economy in Africa, there is a huge digital divide between African countries and developed countries. The digital divide is also on the increase. Developed countries are gaining more and more momentum through use of various digital 4.0 technologies. Africa one the other hand is barely making headway with their digital markets.
We recently held a very insightful discussion in May 2021 on the ‘untapped Africa digital: leverage for global trade?’. The panelists make very interesting observations. For example, one panelist notes that the structure of education in most African countries perpetuates colonial and post colonial agenda. This is because the education systems aim to produce people for white collar jobs. As a result, there is minimal focus on people who are looking to use their skills to innovate and find solutions.