Is Africa’s Technology Drive Being Hijacked?

Is Africa’s Technology Drive Being Hijacked?

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Africa has become one of the most active regions in the world in terms of technology innovation. The most present example on a daily basis has been the rapid adoption of mobile technology, which seen the continent essentially leapfrog fixed-line Internet connections altogether.

Mobile banking has been one of the greatest success stories in Africa’s technology drive, growing at a much faster rate than we’ve seen in the developed nations of North America and Europe. Once again, Africa has almost bypassed the traditional banking system of cash accounts and credit cards, jumping straight into digital wallets, mobile transfers and online banking.

From East Africa Monitor. Story by Aaron Brooks.

In one sense, the latest technology is having more of an impact in many African nations simply because development is overall behind the likes of the US, where many of these Silicon Valley innovations originate from. However, these tech breakthroughs are solving different problems in Africa to those that are most pressing in more developed parts of the world.

Most of Africa still lacks any kind of widespread banking system capable of supporting people on a daily basis, providing little incentive to have a bank account. Mobile technology has provided a workable alternative to branches and ATMs – technology that is well-established elsewhere in the world, but something banks and tech companies have adapted to the unique needs of Africans.

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This is why innovation is proving so strong in Africa: the room for growth is huge and the unique needs of Africa’s peoples demand innovative solutions.

Africa’s technology drive has received a lot of attention in recent years with claims that new breakthroughs will tackle the most pressing health issues, environmental problems, the overpopulation crisis and just about every challenge facing the continent and its individual countries.

However, there’s a growing voice among critics who argue Africa’s technology revolution is being hijacked by foreign investors – some of whom argue the influence of Silicon Valley and the startup scene in Africa amounts to digital colonialism.

Read more at East Africa Monitor.