The Rising African Digital Economy And The Role Of Telecom Players

For long, the African continent has not been included in the so-called growth engines that have been credited with driving progress. However, the tide has turned. Over the last few years, the region has finally found a true enabler of growth – digitalization. Africa is witnessing a rapid adoption of digital services in all areas. From banking to education, eCommerce, and entertainment, the number of digital-savvy users is growing.

Help, guidance, and resources have poured into African nations courtesy of several global organizations as well as developed economies in the slipstream of this digital awakening. The investments have gone mostly into enabling resources such as high-speed internet. Today nearly 36% of the African population has access to broadband internet. A decade ago, this was in single digits.

Let’s look at this movement more closely.

From laggards to leaders

While Africa was significantly late in appearing on the digital economy radar, that did not stop it from beating all odds to emerge as a leader today. This is especially true in some areas. Take, for example, digital payments. McKinsey estimates that the African e-payment market will grow by 150% between 2020 and 2025.

Countries like Nigeria, Kenya, and others are witnessing their digital transaction volumes doubling almost every year. Citizens are becoming more aware of the benefits of using digital payment mechanisms. A vast population that was outside the traditional banking systems is coming aboard now to enjoy extraordinary benefits.

This is an inspiring journey and can set precedents for other regions to follow. Most African nations are now focused on creating a welcoming environment for fintech innovations in their markets. These innovations are those that can break barriers to the adoption of new-age financial instruments by the masses.

The journey is not without challenges

While sectors like banking are showing promise, the African continent does have some very basic challenges. It is estimated that nearly 900 million people in Africa are still not connected to the internet. For those who have managed to hop onto the internet bandwagon, businesses are facing challenges in improving service experiences. From physical limitations created by irregular power supply to security threats in cyberspace, there’s quite a journey to endure before success.

The role of telecom in Africa’s digital maturity

We have already seen the number one problem that stands in the way of making Africa a competent force in the digital space is poor connectivity. More Africans need to become connected to the internet at affordable rates. Moreover, it is equally important for newer digital business services to penetrate deep into such untapped markets seamlessly and securely. In this context, telecom players can play a central role in bridging the gaps on the road to digital maturity in the African market.

They can bring the much-needed connectivity that will boost the online population figures. Additionally, telecom companies can transition into trusted enablers of digital services by providing a foundation for other businesses to build on top of. In other words, telecom operators have the opportunity of a lifetime to radically transform a region that is poised to be the next big international growth market.

How can telecom companies be the flag bearer of digital innovation in Africa?

Let us explore the top 3 ways in which telecom businesses can empower major changes and be a part of Africa’s most anticipated growth journey:

Create a new internet population faster

Telecom companies play a key role in helping more people get online on the continent. While faster internet services and phone networks are important areas, telecom operators must build a seamless customer acquisition strategy as well. A major hurdle in this strategy is getting people on board faster without complications. This is where telecom companies can leverage solutions like eKYC to minimize friction and get things done within the quickest timeframe possible.

Eliminate fraud

Telecom companies can ensure that they prevent fraudulent engagements in their networks. It can use platforms such as Armour to ensure that spam, fraudulent SMS created with SIM farming, IP-BX frauds, etc. are prevented from making any presence in the business.

Support digital business growth

Businesses must offer seamless digital services at scale to impress users and attract new customers. However, with the rise in digital consumption, there will be a major uptick in the number of cyber threats as well. We have seen rising instances of fraud and identity theft resulting in people losing money considerably. Telecom companies can truly help create a difference in this scenario.

By deploying tools like Authentrica, enterprises can use telecom networks as a major source of verifying the authenticity of users. From multi-channel authentication to Flash Calls, it becomes easier to identify and remove threats before they unleash damage. 2 major benefits could accrue here. They help in avoiding transactional vulnerabilities in the network. At the same time, they allow businesses to quickly on-board new customers with genuine credentials through real-time authentication.

The bottom line

Africa will be a land of opportunities for the digital community and a growth engine of the world in the coming years. Telecom players can be key catalysts of that revolution. They can help businesses of all kinds tap into this emerging market. In this journey, telecom players, need access to the right tech that can help in building an enabling ecosystem that can also be monetized. This is where our suite of offerings can help. Get in touch with us to know more about our Africa story.

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