Considering Ethiopia’s high rate of poverty, investment in the country’s information and communication technology is among the highest in the world, according to a report in BizTechAfrica.
Ethiopia’s committed investment in ICT accounts for 10 percent of its overall gross domestic product, and the government has invested $14 billion-plus in this sector over the last 10 years, the report says.
Ethiopia has emerged as one of Africa’s most exciting new markets and the fastest-growing economy on the continent at an average annual rate of 11 percent in recent years.
This optimism is supported by the International Monetary Fund’s projection of Ethiopia as the third fastest-growing economy from 2011 through 2015, trailing only China and India. With continued market reforms, global integration and pro-business reforms, Ethiopia is positioned for more growth, the BizTechAfrica report says.
The country will showcase some of its investment opportunities in ICT Aug. 2 at the one-day Ethiopian Banking & ICT Summit. The event is organized by Cyber Security Africa, a U.K.-based IT security solutions provider with offices in Kenya.
Public and private-sector players are expected to attend, said Sammy Kioko, Cyber Security Africa Alliance manager.
Almost non-existent as an investment destination before 2006, Ethiopian activity has picked up in recent months on the back of government efforts to open the country’s economy, Kioko said.
The type of huge investments Ethiopia is seeing require banks to understand the opportunities, risks and security challenges in ICT services and products as they are the biggest consumers of technology, Kioko said in the BizTechAfrica report. “Likewise, ICT practitioners need to know how they can work with bankers to protect their infrastructure.”
Despite being one of the highest-performing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia remains one of the world’s poorest countries, according to Rural Poverty Portal. About 29 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line. Ethiopia ranks 174th out of 187 countries on the U.N. Development Program’s human development index.