Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Africa Will Not Miss the Digital Revolution, Vow Presidents

Article Image
Politicians and investors pledged to support the development of Africa's digital economy during a recent industry event in Paris focused on startups.

Africa featured prominently at the 4th iteration of Viva Technology (VivaTech) in the French capital. About 160 African startups attended the event, representing innovative developments in the digital domain -- from fintech to health, from AI to drones -- as well as many other areas of expertise.

Many dignitaries also attended the event. Macky Sall, the Senegalese president, gave a speech during which he claimed Senegal will focus on the digital sector as a key area of growth: He expects to see the country's digital economy contributing 10% of the country's GDP by the end of his term (which runs to 2024). "Africa missed the industrial revolution, but she is not going to miss the digital revolution," Sall stated, according to this report from La Tribune.

Senegal has set aside an annual fund of CFA 30 billion (US$51 million) to help entrepreneurs, with financial, technological and training support.

Paul Kagamé, Sall’s counterpart in Rwanda, said the country's digital sector raised $19 million in 2018. Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the country's Minister of Commerce and Industry, attributed that investment to the expansion of the country's fibre optic networks and simplified process to set up businesses. Rwanda is looking to raise a further $100 million to complete the construction of its Innovation-City, dubbed Rwanda's Silicon Valley.

There were also plenty of industry heavyweights present at the event to support the African startups. For example, Rwanda-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar showcased the first premium smartphones made entirely in Africa: The devices have been produced by Thakkar's Mara Corp. in partnership with Google and with support from l'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Rwanda-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar was on hand to show his company's all-African smartphones.
Rwanda-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar was on hand to show his company's all-African smartphones.

Facebook was also at the event, promoting its AI investments in Africa. The company developed a program in Nigeria called NG'Hub focused on deep learning. Also in Nigeria, it launched a training program called Boost Your Business two years ago, and is set to announce the expansion of that scheme to six more countries -- Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, Benin, Senegal, and Guinea. The programme aims to train 10,000 digital marketing professionals that can work on its platform.

In total, 13,000 startups and 3,300 investors from 125 countries attended the three-day event.

— Wei Shi, Site Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Safaricom launches M-Pesa 'super app'

Safaricom has launched its long-awaited M-Pesa 'super app' with new features like offline mode as well as mini-apps within the app.


Hot startup of the month: Nigeria's Bankly

Nigerian startup Bankly is digitizing cash for people who work in the informal sector and helping unbanked Nigerians save money, invest and gain access to credit and other financial services.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: May 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about new licenses for operators in Ethiopia and Uganda, and Nigeria's 5G rollout plans.


Omdia View: April 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context around Ethiopia's telecoms licensing process, Millicom's plans to exit Tanzania and Ghana, and Airtel Africa's successful capital raise.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.


Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

North Africa Com
July 13-14, 2021
Virtual Event
Asia Tech x Singapore
July 13-16, 2021
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Technologies and business models to connect the next billion

Nearly half the planet remains unconnected at a time when COVID-19 has forced people’s reliance on the Internet and digital technologies higher than ever before. Bridging the digital divide to provide Mobile Internet access – the main driver of digital inclusion – is exceedingly important in the current context. Overcoming this connectivity crisis represents a growth opportunity for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to expand their services outside of the crowded, highly competitive urban markets.

In this webinar we will focus on solutions that help MNOs close both the coverage gap and the usage gap.

Key topics include:

  • What are the barriers to overcome increased Mobile Internet adoption?
  • How to match deployments cost with expected revenue?
  • Operator success story

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up