The springing of technology hubs in Africa is on the rise. In a country like Rwanda, the government is putting efforts to drive ICT access, trying to take advantage of its eleven million citizens’ information. Also, Kenya and Uganda, among other countries, are trying their best. The computing and information technology departments are developing Apps. After the creation of these apps, they can sell them to stores like google and Samsung. However, these apps get used mostly by African residents. The article will be giving a piece of detailed information as to why it has become hard to commercialize Africa.
These points explains why its hard to commercialize digital in Africa
Penetration of smartphones
The world’s adaption of smartphones has raised to 1 billion handsets according to the bizcommunity.com. In a country, 30% of the phone’s users are using smartphones. Japan is leading with a penetration of 82% flowered by Switzerland and Kuwait. In Africa, Egypt, with 37% leads in the list, Tanzania with 13% and Kenya 12% are also in the top five list. The high cost of devices is the main reason why there is a slow adaption of smartphones. Hence making it hard to commercialize digital Africa.
Smartphones allow people to have access to content online wherever they are. Things like digital goods can easily make them be sellers and buyers online. However, this will soon end since some companies have started producing low-cost devices.
- Digital Divide
This is a lack of skills for using the powerful ICT tools that one possesses. This is, for example, having a smartphone, but you only make calls. You cannot access the website since you do not know how to use it. This is very common in Africa. Many that have the devices lack skills to harness the tool’s potential. This is as a result of high illiteracy levels. Many people still can write and read. Also, language is a big challenge here.
However, with the introduction of M-banking and telecom, they are investing heavily in advertising. This will go a long way in helping people to take advantage of those devices. They are also giving free packages of data so that they may grow interested in the web. This, however, needs a lot to be done.
More Points on Internet, APPS and Money Exchange Platforms
- Internet Costs.
This is another reason why it has become hard to commercialize digital in Africa. Two-thirds of South Africans have never accessed the internet. This is despite South Africa being the most advanced technologically in Africa. According to a survey conducted, it showed that only 34% of people use the internet. This is about 12 million of the population.
The reason for this low number is expensive internet supplies due to lack of infrastructure. High data charging is also another reason. The only hope there is if from Google and Facebook, which are trying their best to make internet access a reality. Some experiments in Africa on the same have already started.
- Local Apps
Nicholas Rixon of Bizcommunity said, “There is a need for local application developers to develop apps specifically for the African market that solve local problems and provide utility to the local market. The rise of mobile technology has made a gold rush of mobile companies looking to produce the next best app for consumers and business. The market overturns with the international application, many of which do not add value in the African context. Local consumers are looking for apps that help them in their daily activities to solve local problems and increase their effectiveness. “This is to mean there is a great need for the development of local apps, which will resolve the local issues. This will, in the end, lead to mass adaption the way M-Pesa does in Kenya.
- Money Exchanging Platforms that are Easier
There is a strong belief that eCommerce in Europe and North America was made possible due to PayPal’s emergence. North Africa and the Middle East, there is Cashu. However, in sub-Sahara countries, there are no options for digital money transactions. Hence, a platform for money exchange that is cheap enough, and one that is using will be easy once developed.
By investing well in the African level of literacy, giving encouraging data plans and bonuses, more Africans will get interested in getting to the internet. This way, the people will to the web content and thus able to create or generate income from it. It will also serve as a learning medium since people will be able to study in a different country while in their home country. Money transactions will no longer be an issue if Africa digital is commercialized.