A few African countries recently saw the emergence of a vibrant digital economy driven by a new generation of entrepreneurs: Tech hubs are spreading in places like Lagos, Nairobi or Addis Ababa. International institutions, consultancies and tech firms agree: a digital transformation is on its way along with a unique opportunity for the continent to leapfrog arduous steps on the ladder to prosperity. While there is little doubt that digital technology will accelerate development, it alone will fail to provide the very basics for inclusive economic growth across Africa: formal and productive jobs for a working age population that is growing by 20 million a year to over 600 million in 2030.
Let‘s look at Mangos from Mali instead: by focusing on its comparative advantage – the labour intensive agricultural sector –, the land- locked country multiplied its exports of the tropical fruit to the European Union by 600 percent within a decade, allowing millions of farmers to increase their incomes. Or at Ethiopia that targets the light industry sectors – particularly leather, textile and agriculture – that require a large workforce with low qualification and are generating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
While oldfashioned structural reforms do not seem as attractive as leapfrogging, history proves their success – in China or Indonesia for instance. Investing in digital technologies will be crucial for African countries to stay on track and will help leapfrogging in some sectors. For longterm sustainable economic development fundamental reforms towards building a solid industry will have to go along with it.
The corporAID Multilogue „Africa‘s Path to Prosperity“ showed why a digital transformation in Africa will have to go hand in hand with industrialisation and how European companies can support Africa’s path to prosperity by making use of new market opportunities.
Christopher Maclay | Head of Growth, Lynk Kenya
Efosa Ojomo | Research Fellow, Clayton Christensen Institute
Jesus Crespo-Ckuaresma | Head of Institute, Vienna University of Economics and Business
Judith Helfmann-Hundack | Director, German-African Business Association
Nella Hengstler | Regional Director Africa/Middle East, Advantage Austria
Hans Stoisser | Associate, Peter Drucker Society Europe
Martin Treml | Regional Director, VAMED
Time & Place
Tueday, 27. November 2018, 6 to 8 p.m.
OeKB Reitersaal, Strauchgasse 3, 1010 Vienna