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Africa’s Sh19.7tn Internet Economy Booming, Tech Talent Among Key Drivers – Dentsu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – The internet economy of Africa, worth about US$180 billion or Sh19.7 trillion, was one of the most overlooked developments but offered the most impactful developmental opportunities of the past decade.

This is according to Michael Zylstra, Chief Strategy Officer for Dentsu sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) who says mobile Internet is transforming life in Africa supported by growing local connectivity and mobility, and a dynamic, young urban population.

Quoting a report dubbed E-commerce Like Never Before by the Japanese international advertising and public relations firm, Zylstra says that with a 28.5 percent compound annual growth rate of the African Internet population since 2000, the internet economy is becoming even more critical to reaching and supporting the continent’s 1.3 billion people.

He added that this number will only continue to grow.

The report further indicates that a growing urban and mobile population brings tremendous potential to the economy.

As such, internet penetration is 40 percent today and a 10 percent increase in mobile Internet penetration can increase gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

The report further reveals that the tech talent in Africa is at a historical peak and continues to rise annually.

“There are 690,000 professional developers across Africa with more than 50 percent concentrated in five key African countries: Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa. While there are challenges confronting startups in the African ecosystem, there remains an abundance of opportunities and increased venture capital inflow to the continent,” it reads.

Additional information from the report also indicates that infrastructure drives increased access to more affordable and higher-speed Internet.

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What’s more, tech companies’ investment in subsea and terrestrial fiber-optic infrastructure has led to rapid growth in international Internet capacity. Google’s own subsea cable, Equiano, is expected to be completed in 2022.

“Regulatory inconsistency can hamper market access and limit investment opportunities for startups. Startup acts and regional harmonization are initiatives that are driving mutually beneficial growth. It is important for entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers to continue dialogue, encouraging environments where digital businesses can thrive.”

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