Tech start-ups are the solution to boosting economic growth in Africa

Africa is trailing behind the world in developing a knowledge-based, digital economy but governments can change this by supporting tech start-ups through incentives and investment in workforce skills, says the World Economic Forum.

Businessman holding a tablet showing holographic chart that portraying rising growth

The World Economic Forum (WEF) believes that digital transformation can boost economic growth in Africa by connecting the region to the global digital economy. According to a new report, written in partnership with Deloitte, this will not only open new opportunities for small businesses but will also increase intra-Africa trade, which currently sits at 16% compared to intra-Europe’s 65-70%.

Africa may sadly be trailing behind the world in developing a knowledge-based digital economy, but the WEF believes this can be changed by governments fuelling tech start-ups and other small businesses through incentives and investment in workforce skills.

And the interest is there, as a study by World Mobile reported that African business leaders believe the expansion of the African middle class, coupled with government support, is driving demand for innovation.

Local experts are key to overcoming Africa’s biggest challenges

With the challenges facing Africa now and in the coming years, from rapid urbanisation and population growth through to climate change and food security, Meredith Ettridge, Head of Sustainable Development at the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE), believes that on-the-ground solutions by local experts are key to tackling issues effectively and sustainably.

“The more under-represented groups involved in the design of solutions, the more those solutions keep the needs of under-represented groups in mind,” she says. “African entrepreneurs are best placed to create solutions for where they live and develop bespoke solutions that suit their communities.”

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