Africa: The New Technology Frontier
For a while now, Africa has been considered an increasingly important market for global business.
However, not until the last decade has it been looked at seriously as a source of growth opportunities in the technology sector.
Now as Africa's billion-plus population continues to adopt technology at unprecedented rates, international tech powerhouses are increasingly targeting Africa for investment and new growth opportunities.
In 2013, IBM opened up a global research laboratory in Nairobi, the first commercial technology research facility in Africa.
Google has also been highly active on the continent, especially in supporting tech hubs across Africa through their Google for Entrepreneurs programme. In 2013, they announced their first investment in Africa: a $12 million investment in a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
For some companies, Africa has provided a lifeline. Blackberry, whose global market share famously collapsed from 50% in 2009 to less than 3% today, is still a leading brand in Africa where it holds 40% and 70% of the smartphone market in Nigeria and South Africa respectively - Africa's two largest economies.
Wisely, BlackBerry are now looking to position themselves as a money transfer service. Given the remittances market in emerging markets is estimated at over $500 billion, this move could prove to be BlackBerry's ticket to making a global comeback.
At the Africa Technology Business Network, we encourage UK tech entrepreneurs and businesses to look beyond the UK and start to tap into vast opportunities that exist in developing markets across Africa.
Which is why on the 29th April, we will host our first Africa TechPitch event in London. This will be an evening pitch event aimed at showcasing high-potential, high-impact Africa-relevant start-ups, ideas and businesses.
We are looking for disruptive, innovative ideas and solutions that leverage technology to address the unique needs of consumers in the African market, create greater opportunities for trade with Africa and empower African businesses and entrepreneurs to access global markets.
Join us and meet the start-ups who are following in the steps of tech giants to grasp the new opportunities created by technology in Africa.