7 November 2019 | 2 minutes

Connectivity provides more than the internet; it provides a world of opportunities.

In Africa, we take those opportunities and use them to turn ideas and ambitions into something real. For an entrepreneur who dreams of reaching a larger market, an online presence makes the dream possible. For a teacher who wishes more resources were available, digital content provides a wealth of material from all over the world. Connectivity is bringing Africa closer to the rest of the world, and African businesses are booming because of it. 

The Brookings Institution in Washington DC published a report about Africa’s untapped business potential, calling our continent the world’s next big growth market. The report lists five business opportunities, and connectivity makes an impact on all of them.

Connectivity is key to Africa’s potential as the world’s next big growth market.

The first opportunity is that our population is fast-growing and urbanizing.  Africa’s population is expected to reach 1.7 billion people by 2030. More than 80% of that growth is expected to happen in cities, where people are earning more money and creating business opportunities. 

The second opportunity is that Africa is industrialising, and manufacturing is set to soar. The Brookings report notes that African industries could double production to nearly US$ 1 trillion within ten years. Industry 4.0 has brought the Internet of Things, automation and the use of robotics in manufacturing to life. Manufacturing has therefore become more efficient, and safer, than it has ever been.

Infrastructure is improving across the continent, bringing about a third business opportunity. With better infrastructure, it becomes easier to start and grow businesses, and reach various regions both in and out of the country.  

There is major potential in Africa’s agriculture and natural resources. The fourth opportunity can be found in innovating the way we farm and use our abundance of resources. With a world-class network, the use of digital solutions like IoT helps farmers to produce more and therefore earn more. Read more about how a connected continent impacts agriculture here. 

The fifth opportunity is Africa’s increasing digital and mobile access. The Brookings report notes that mobile data traffic across the continent is projected to increase sevenfold by 2022.  Businesses with brick and mortar shops can easily create online stores and reach a global audience, while informal traders finally have the opportunity for financial inclusion because of mobile money.

A smartphone and an internet connection can help turn a small business into a global brand.

As we connect more people to the digital highway, entrepreneurs are born and businesses grow. As those businesses grow, more people have the opportunity to be employed, creating a ripple effect that puts African countries on the global map.

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