Digitalizing Africa? In the past, people bury money and valuable resources in the ground to keep for the rainy days, as time went on, some buildings served as saving banks where money was later kept. This service improved when inventions like the Automated Teller Machines and credit cards became popular so people do not have to crowd the bank to withdraw their money. Over time, mobile apps have made it even more possible to convert currencies, transfer funds, and make payments without actually visiting the banks.
Before the new millennium, the traditional way of life dominated the mentality of the African people. Anything that looked digital was seen as magical and near impossible due to the lack of innovation that rocked the continent. As time went by with the positive increase in the continent’s young population, the digital footprint began to spread across Africa. The growth rate and development of innovations have come to stay due to the creation of business opportunities, jobs, and improvement in the standard of living.
OVERVIEW OF AFRICAN ECONOMY
Africa is generally regarded as developing as compared to advanced nations like Japan, China, the USA, and so on. This is because the gross domestic product of most African countries comes from their natural resources. There is also a high dependence on agriculture which is a major source of export. In Africa’s defense, there is an absolute advantage in producing agricultural products because of its low cost of production compared to producing technological products. Nevertheless, there is a shift in African production because the level of industrialization has increased and more manufacturers are beginning to see the opportunities of producing goods and services at home.
Fintech, for instance, is one of the greatest investment opportunities that has spread its wings across Africa. An average person has encountered issues due to the inefficiency of the financial institutions and so it is logical for humans to go for what gives them the best satisfaction with little stress. Fintech services have ensured that common people can access loans that the banks won’t normally give, and even if they do, the interest rate is unfavorable. Loan services by fintech companies can make people access loans and pay them back with ease.
COVID 19 has changed the way we see the world. Schools are now forced to embark on digital learning to reduce the spread of the virus to school children and other individuals. One of the positives of this is the ability of everyone in the school setting to adapt to online learning because, in years to come, the school setting will eventually evolve.
TOP RANKING AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO INVEST IN
Africa has shown promise to lots of investors due to so many reasons that include a high level of young and vibrant population that is dominating the digital industry with ideas and innovations. This also means that there will be a high level of consumption rate due to the population that Africa has to offer. And with the increase in phone and internet users in Africa, valuable information on products and services will not be deficient. In addition to this, there will be easier access to job opportunities and networking.
Many things make a country attractive to investors and business owners and they include political stability, high consumer population, availability of basic infrastructure, favorable government policies, favorable interest rates, quality financial institutions, and a high level of the labor force and human capital.
Here are the top-ranking African countries to invest in:
- South Africa: South Africa ranks first in Africa and 37th in the world in term of FinTech Global Ranking. Regarded as one of the best places to invest in fintech and the leading country in telecommunications with established names like MTN and DSTV, South Africa has a lot to offer. Furthermore, the financial markets in the country make it stand out as one of the best in Sub Saharan Africa.
- Eygpt: Egypt is one of the top African nations in terms of manufacturing. The government has ensured that Egypt is recognised as one of the major places for investors to look into due to progressive policies and sophisticated technology for manufacturing.
- Ghana: This is one of the most underrated countries in Africa in terms of economic development. Ghana has something that always works for them aside from the fact that they are blessed with major natural resources like oil and gas. They also have political stability and government policies that can easily make investors settle their businesses in that peaceful climate. Recently, the CEO of Twitter announced that Ghana will be the African headquarters of one of the largest social media network company.
- Nigeria: Nigeria is a country with an abundance of human capital and natural resources, the giant of Africa and one of the biggest economies in Sub Saharan Africa yet they stand as the poverty capital of the world with more than half the population living below the poverty line. The dependency on oil has put a stumbling block in the manufacturing industry which has negatively affected its development. Political instability has been in existence since its independence and even after democracy, there is gross mismanagement and capital flight by top officials. However, investment in Nigeria is possible because of the large consumer market and the creation of opportunities. Nigeria also has the largest population with phone and internet users in Africa.
- Tanzania: Tanzania is one of the major countries when it comes to tourism in Africa. The East African country is the home of the tallest mountain in Africa and has attracted lots of tourists thereby ensuring that more jobs are created for locals as well as increasing the contribution to the GDP. Furthermore, just like Ghana, Tanzania has enjoyed steady political stability which has allowed investments and business to thrive over time.
WHY INVEST IN TANZANIA?
The country’s economic growth has averaged 6% to 7% per year over the last decade. There is also an increase in government investment and policies as well as foreign investment to improve the economic growth of the country.
Tanzania is currently experiencing a positive development in digitalization with mobile users as the center of this development. Mobile services are leading in terms of communications and are very popular among Tanzanians. About 42% of the population subscribed to a mobile service in 2018. In addition to this, mobile internet penetration has dramatically increased since 2010 to 18.5%, with over 8 million new mobile internet subscribers added since that period
In January 2020, there were 14.72 million active internet users in Tanzania. Furthermore, between 2019 and 2020, the number of internet users increased by 428 thousand. The rate of internet penetration was at 25% in January 2020.
The impact of this positive increase in phone and internet usage is enormous because digital businesses can gain the attention of consumers in this region. There will be an increase in access to information as regards opportunities and networking.
Tanzania also happens to be one of the top destinations for foreign investment in Africa and it ranks among the 10 biggest recipients of FDI in Africa. The FDI inflow in Tanzania was about 1,1 billion US dollars in 2019 and this was an increase compared to the previous year (1 billion US dollars). This is according to UNCTAD’s 2020 World Investment Report. In addition to this, Investors are attracted to the country’s commitment to implement sound macroeconomic policies as well as its abundant natural resources for tourism and efficient privatization programs.
There are a lot of positives that can attract foreign investors and they include:
- There is potential in the economic growth of Tanzania: The east African country has experienced steady economic growth overtime in the past ten years making it one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and this is attractive to foreign investors. The inflation rate is also on the decline which shows stability in the economy.
- Political Stability: The country has never experienced any civil war or unrest since its independence. This makes Tanzania a stable place for investment even as the country grows steadily.
- The abundance of natural resources: One of the key drivers of the GDP in Tanzania is the presence of natural resources which makes up more than half the contribution of job opportunities and productivity. Tourism has played a huge role in creating jobs for citizens and attracting investors into the country.
- The country links to six landlocked countries in East Africa which have made it a strategic economic hub with three water ports that is readily accessible to neighbouring countries.
- There is also a 0% import duty on capital goods and 10% import duty on semi-finished goods. This is to encourage the level of production at home and put a reduction in the importation of goods and services that can be produced at home. This will ensure that local industries are protected from unhealthy competitions.
- There is a 50% capital allowance by the government for plant and machinery used in manufacturing processes and fixed in a factory during the first year. Fish farming as well as providing services to tourists and in a hotel also enjoys this benefit. This is to increase the rate of home manufacturing in the country.
In conclusion, Africa has a long way to go in terms of economic development because what defines the development of a nation is not the increase in GDP. the rise in GDP must be accompanied by an improvement in the standard of living of individuals. There are so many opportunities to exploit in the field of digitalization in Africa due to the gaps left by the traditional ways of living. With bright and innovative minds in Tanzania and Africa generally, the next decade will experience a jump in digital development compared to the rest of the world.