41% of Organisations Have no Big Data Plans in Egypt and Morocco

IBM research conducted by IDG Connect shows the North African Big Data market is far less advanced than sub-Saharan regions through East and West

IBM research conducted by IDG Connect shows the North African Big Data market is far less advanced than sub-Saharan regions through East and West 

Recent research we conducted on behalf of IBM showed that in Kenya and Nigeria, Big Data is taking off, with 64% stating they are already on the road and only 36% saying they have no plans.

This stands in stark contrast to North Africa where not even a quarter (24% in Egypt and 22% in Morocco) report having Big Data live, in action and delivering results.  More startling still, a majority in both markets have no plans to implement Big Data at present:

  • Egypt: 38% have no plans to implement Big Data
  • Morocco: 44% have no plans to implement Big Data

The report suggests that this result is largely down to: "relatively low levels of education on what Big Data is and how its processes work," in each country. There is also a low level of ROI assessment on Big Data across both markets (76% have not conducted an assessment in Morocco, 64% in Egypt), although this is similar to the aggregate 63% recorded in Kenya and Nigeria.

These results do seem surprising when you consider the disparity in maturity between North and sub-Saharan Africa. However, part of this could come down to IBM itself.

IBM has been investing exceptionally heavily in Kenya recently, which will certainly have helped build awareness. This has included the launch of the first Africa Research Lab in Nairobi on 8th November along with a series of other long-term initiatives.  On top of this, IBM has put a concerted emphasis into the economic powerhouse of West Africa over the last 12 months with a real drive into Accra, capital of Ghana, the second country in the region after Nigeria.

Adrian Schofield, Manager of Applied Research at Joburg Centre for Software Engineering at Wits University suggested from the other perspective: "the aftermath of the "Arab Spring" may well have set back growth and investment plans in [Egypt and Morocco]."

This could certainly be the case. A report we published on Morocco at the start of the year looked at the hidden IT potential within this country but how it often becomes subsumed (and held back?) by the wider reputation of Egypt; a place which has experienced significant problems recently.

Budde for example has described Morocco as: "one of the most advanced telecommunications markets in Africa and often seen as a role model for future developments in other parts of the continent". 

While one individual we interviewed said: "Since my return to Morocco in 2010, I have seen growth in a sector that is excited by an increase in the user demand. During my last 25 years' IT experience in Australia and Saudi Arabia, Morocco has moved very fast in this field to reach the developed countries. "

North Africa may generally be a lot more advanced than markets in sub-Saharan African. However, maybe a concerted international focus, and hefty start-up scene on the ground (in places such as Cameroon) is starting to see the tables turned in these once ignored countries?  Because whilst the oil wealth in Nigeria and the government tech emphasis in Kenya is well documented, these trends are also starting to spill over to neighbouring countries. Now Ethiopia - once remembered for a famine and just lumped in with Kenya within the business sphere - is becoming a surprising leader in the Big Data space. 

Maybe these IBM findings do signify wider changes within the geographic tech landscape of Africa?


Read the full IBM Morocco research here

Read the full IBM Africa research here


Kathryn Cave is Editor at IDG Connect