Africa is often described as the ‘dark continent’, but what the outside world doesn’t see, is a place that is carving out its own path towards better services online, and this is all thanks to major improvements in connectivity, the rapid growth of mobile use and governmental involvement.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), when all these growth factors are taken into account, the continent has only one way to go – up.
“The digital picture in Africa is changing rapidly. Internet penetration is on the rise, buoyed by increased infrastructure investments, while the landing of undersea fiber-optic cables connecting Africa to the rest of the world has greatly reduced transmission time and costs while increasing bandwidth capacity.
Although only an estimated 19% of the continent’s 1 billion population is online, this situation is expected to improve as investments in infrastructure continue to gain momentum; this includes 2G and 3G network infrastructure expansion and fiber to the x (FTTx),” said Leonard Kore, a research analyst for telecommunications and media at IDC East Africa, in a press statement.
The IDC cites the increased usage in social media as one of the factors that is transforming the internet usage in Africa.
“The growth of digital media has had a positive impact on businesses in Africa in terms of cost reduction, increased employee productivity, and improved communication and information sharing, both internally and externally,” Kore added.
And as the connectivity space changes in Africa, so too will companies need to change in order to provide the best possible services that they can – which will in turn stimulate the continent’s overall growth in the digital space.
“The traditional roles of various market players are expected to evolve as telcos continue to venture into the digital media space, while OTTs, and OEMs emulate telecom services at the application layer, resulting in a transition that has given rise to a friend/foe relationship among these key stakeholders.”
Kore was referring to IDC’s ‘Assessment and Outlook of the Digital Media Ecosystem in Africa’ report, which “provides a critical assessment of the digital media landscape across the continent.”[Source – IDC, Image – CC by 2.0/Dietmar Temps]