Gone are the days when Africa was known for being poor and underdeveloped. But, the past two decades have seen Africa experience economic and infrastructural growth. More development is expected to take place by 2030. The emerging technologies are also revolutionizing how Africans solve problems. In 2016, a lot of countries globally suffered major challenges. These include; unstable financial markets, refugees’ crisis, inequality, political instability and social fragmentation. Despite all these challenges, Africa was resilient enough to experience a 3.7% growth in GDP in 2016. But that’s not to say these troubles didn’t take a toll on most of Africa’s sectors.
Economic Growth for the Past few Decades
The exporting sector of Africa suffered a major setback, calling for a new development model. This model involves innovation, entrepreneurship and a different approach to economic growth.
This is quite challenging to one of the largest continents in the world. This is because most parts of Africa live in poverty. More than 50% of Africa’s population doesn’t have access to electricity. 40% don’t have access to water. A lot of youth still face unemployment and underemployment; living at less than $2 per day. This calls for development in healthcare, employment, food and nutrition, and water security. Initiatives such as private partnerships aren’t achieving the desired results.
In achieving the vision 2030, Africa needs to turn the challenges into opportunities. The alleged challenges include; a rapidly growing population, rapid urbanization and emerging technologies.
- Africa will account for more than 20% of the world’s population by 2030. And, a large percentage will be in the working age.
- Africa’s rapid urbanization rate can speed up economic development.
- Africa lacks an adequate legal system to regulate the technical world. This attracts tech innovators from all over the world to set up shop in Africa. As a result, connectivity has really grown in Africa, and more and more people have access to the internet.
Which are the Emerging Technologies
Africa has seen the emergence of new technologies over the years. Examples are Mpesa, Bankymoon and Bitpesa. Their success has shown have these emerging technologies can revolutionize how we deal with day to day problems. The most promising technologies that can disrupt development in all sectors include;
- Internet of Things (IoT) – This involves enabling devices to capture and communicate data in real time.
- Big data – Involves the analyzing of large volumes of data to predict future occurrences in various sectors.
- Artificial Intelligence – This involves enabling machines with human characteristics. These traits include; intelligence, reasoning, planning, learning, motion, social intelligence, and even creativity
- Blockchain – “A blockchain is a record of transactions in the form of a digital ledger. This ledger is updated on every transaction. This ledger consists of blocks joined by encryption. These blocks are distributed across the entire network. Also, no single user holds the entire blockchain.”
- Robotics – This is where robots are used to automate various industrial processes. As a result, the processes will become fast, efficient and safer.
- 3D Printing – 3D printing involves creating 3 dimensional items by just designing digitally. You can customize all the features you’d like, and an exact object will be printed. As a result, it’s more efficient than traditional manufacturing, and it takes less time.
How Can these Technologies Impact the Achieving of Vision 2030
These emerging technologies can influence the achieving of vision 2030 through the following aspects;
Robots are faster and more accurate in manufacturing products. With access to real time data through IoT, it takes less time to address issues arising. With AI, machines can accomplish most of the tasks done by humans; this makes these activities faster, safer, more efficient, and creates room for more innovation.
These emerging technologies allow us to have a lot of information in time. This information can help us make decisions, predict occurrences, change the design of product or customize it. Regular real time information allows us to monitor machine operations, animal’s health, and processes. This information can also help manufacturers predict the usage of a product, the features, so that they can modify it to a client’s liking. Client’s can also judge the performance of a product through this information. All sectors, from agriculture, to aviation, can benefit from daily real time data.
It may be hard to solve real world problems using traditional with targeted mechanisms without disruption other sectors. These advanced technologies can allow us to gather relevant information, understand the patterns and understand better what the actual needs are. This information was not available earlier that’s why most initiatives failed. But IoT and AI provide us with the info and facilitate the interpretation in order to come up with better solutions. A company like 4GCapital uses a blockchain based technology to offer loans to business sartups. Ujuzikilimo uses sensors to gather soil data, analyze it, and advice the farmers on how to utilize their type of sol effectively.
Blockchain removes intermediaries from its system making it easier for people to make transactions. More and more people have access to these technologies and can use them to design better products, make a decision on which products to purchases and even monitor the health of their crops. No one is limiting the transfer of this information. Consequently, they may be used for malicious activities. But, many African companies are using these emerging technologies to make the world a better place. A company known as Followmyvote created a blockchain based voting system. Experfy monitors water availability and quality through internet of things.
As a result of these technologies, the policies of data usage and data sharing, as well as, intermediaries in transactions have experienced a change due to these technologies. Similarly, products design and manufacturing processes have also changed. This system change can help Africans tackle challenges that were impossible in the previous systems.