African Market Trends in Technology Services

November, 2020


The information technology (IT) and business process management (BPM) sectors have been instrumental in accelerating the economic growth of developing nations. Information and communication technologies (ICT) account for 6%–10% of total service exports in most African economies, underscoring that ICT already plays an important role in these countries. It creates many job opportunities for technical graduates, which is vital as education becomes more accessible across the continent and unemployment rates climb.

This study examines the IT/BPM sectors of 11 African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. These countries were chosen to ensure a comprehensive overview of the information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO) markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Maturity levels and regional diversity were taken into account during the selection process.

Five of these countries have experienced periods of instability in the last decade (Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali and Nigeria). They are now realigning and seeking growth by attracting investments for rapid development.

Faced with the growing need to create jobs for youth and reduce reliance on traditional industries such as agriculture (Benin), mining (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and commodity exports (Côte d’Ivoire), governments are devising mechanisms to promote technical and digital sectors. At the same time, they are developing enabling ICT infrastructure, talent and service capacity, and working to bring in investments through incentives and concessions. The COVID-19 crisis has hindered these efforts, while at the same time accelerating the digitization process across the continent.