Africa on the move – Investment in ICT is catalyzing economic growth

July, 2013


For more than a decade, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has played a significant role in both economic growth and poverty reduction. ICT increases efficiency, provides access to new markets and services, creates new opportunities for income generation and gives economically handicapped people an opportunity for sustainable employment. A key part of a development strategy and economic growth, is to ensure effective deployment of ICT in the productive sectors. Africa is proactively gearing itself to derive maximum benefit from adoption of ICT. Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in rollout of various aspects of ICT in Africa including the spread of mobile telephony and easy accessibility to broad-band by laying of undersea cables. However, deployment of ICT in Africa varies significantly between the regions as well as within countries in a region. This demands differentiated ICT strategies for different regions instead of adopting a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
ICT is pivotal to the socio-economic development of Africa by increasing job and wealth creation. ICT offer an opportunity for development, but not a cure. For the potential benefits of ICT to be realized, many fundamentals need to be put in place: prompt deregulation, effective competition among service providers, free movement and adoption of technologies, targeted and competitive subsidies to reduce the access gap, and institutional arrangements to increase the use of ICT. To achieve this, Governments will need to invest heavily in the sector with particular emphasis on the following areas: BPO, E-Government; IT parks, software and hardware development.