Archives par mot-clé : africa

Smartphones are changing lives in Africa

The recent pace of economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa has undeniably been of enormous benefit to the continent

Countries such as Angola, Ghana, Mozambique, and Nigeria have profited from high levels of foreign investment and commodity exports, enabling them to invest in much-needed infrastructure. While this has certainly led to societal transformations, it has also exacerbated the gap between new technologies and old, often defective systems.

Much of sub-Saharan Africa continues to be plagued by poor access to electricity, sporadic Internet coverage, and weak governance—none of which is promising for the development of the latest technologies. These obstacles, while challenging, have nevertheless provided fertile ground for innovations using an already widespread technology: the mobile phone.

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One of the most important advances in mobile technology has been the rapid growth of mobile banking. Africa has been and continues to be one of the most un-banked populations in the world. Millions of Africans are paid in cash, have no access to social security or financial services, and don’t pay taxes. Mobile banking works to alleviate this problem by offering individual users a convenient way to make payments at retailers with only a basic mobile phone that uses near field communications (NFC), meaning that no Internet connection is necessary. Likewise, in Kenya, Safaricom pioneered mobile money transfers, enabling individuals to easily transfer money to a friend or relative via SMS. The service, called M-Pesa, has reached millions of people who previously had no access to financial services. Such services, while basic, help to improve security, offer a more flexible way to manage funds, and allow individuals to manage their income in a structured way.

Mobile payments also enable consumers to make long-distance purchases, thereby opening retailers up to a diverse body of consumers, irrespective of geography. Since payment is made through a mobile phone, the transactional cost to the retailer is much lower than debit or credit card processing fees. Banks across the continent are also opening their doors to new customers. For instance, in Angola, Banco Angolana de Investimentos (BAI) launched the e-Kwanza, a phone application through which new customers can register and set up their accounts for free.

SMS is also becoming an increasingly invaluable tool in the provision of health care services for those living outside of major urban areas. In Kenya, health care professionals are able to stay in touch with individuals living with HIV through the Weltel Project, while in Nigeria, SMS is being used to track the distribution of mosquito nets.

Mobile technology is also creating business opportunities for entrepreneurs working to develop new health care solutions. Health insurance is one such industry sector. One of the world’s largest “micro-insurance” companies, MicroEnsure, has built a business through the provision of mobile-based health insurance in collaboration with mobile network providers. The company has offices in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Tanzania, and provides insurance services to some of the poorest people on the continent—even those living on less than $4 a day. To date, the company has around 4 million customers.

It is in the business arena that mobile technology is proving to be especially fruitful from a socio-economic perspective. A recent research paper from Forbes Africa in collaboration with Djembe Communications showed that the vast majority of young Africans (around 80 percent) would rather work for themselves than for an existing company—a prospect made more viable by access to mobile technology. In the agricultural sector, which accounts for roughly 60 percent of the continent’s export revenues, young entrepreneurs are creating new solutions for farming industries. M-Farm delivers real-time market information to farmers, helping them to better understand the true market price of crop supplies, as well as to negotiate more advantageous prices with wholesalers and importers. Other simple mobile phone ideas include iCow, which delivers a breeding calendar for cows’ gestation periods, in addition to providing farmers with advice on the best breeding practices.

The mobile phone’s educational capacities aren’t limited to the farming sector. A pilot program in Uganda called MobiLiteracy Uganda uses SMS and audio technology to support home learning, offering daily reading lessons in local languages via the parent’s mobile phone to students who are unable to physically attend classes. Because the lessons are delivered by SMS and audio, illiterate parents are also able to participate. In Kenya a 32-year-old teacher has created a mobile phone-based teaching platform, which acts as a virtual tutor and teacher’s assistant, enabling students to access all of their courses outside of the classroom. It is a for-profit business whose success is based on a high volume of low-cost users. As of November 2015 the service had 500,000 customers.

Utilizing existing technology is a smart way for entrepreneurs to create much-needed solutions across Africa. Foreign direct investment and top-down government investment will continue to improve infrastructure, but in the meantime there is money to be made through the most basic mobile phones. Young business leaders across the continent are creating new solutions, but they remain frustrated by poor access to capital, which prevents them from investing in order to expand. Lack of capital is an ongoing issue in Africa, which is why many young businesses look towards foreign investors for help. There are an increasing number of solutions, such as one provided by the pairing service FACRA, a government-backed venture capital fund in Angola. It acts as a conduit between successful Angolan businesses and foreign investors—an introduction that makes it easy for home-grown businesses to source capital from a range of potential suitors. It also provides an easy-access route for foreign firms looking for opportunities in the country, offering cultural and business initiation services and attractive financial terms for direct investment.

Organizations such as FACRA are supporting enterprises and making it much easier for growing businesses to find ways of expanding nationally and across borders. It is especially important for mobile-based businesses to succeed because they deliver low-cost solutions that have the potential for high returns, not to mention the socioeconomic benefits they provide to communities.

Over the next few years, it is likely that the use of mobile technology—even basic SMS services—will grow. The cost of basic phones has fallen dramatically over recent years and even smartphones are becoming commonplace. Foreign investors now have an opportunity to look at this fast-growing sector as a way of securing long-term gains through businesses that have a strong socio-economic impact, which could provide a win-win scenario for African economies, entrepreneurs, and foreign investors.

Will Africa be digitally relevant in the next 10 years ?

By 2025, jobs which were common place in 2015 will no longer exist. Students graduating in 2016, will have obsolete qualifications for which there will no longer be a profession by 2025.

  • Front-line military personnel will be replaced with robots
  • Private bankers and wealth managers will be replaced with algorithms
  • Telemarketers, data entry capturers, tax preparers, lawyers, accountants, actuaries, statisticians and consulting engineers will be replaced with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

New business models, like those of Uber and Alibaba, are already industry-shaping disruptors, and each day, new Digital innovators are emerging to cause disintermediation and disruption across every industry imaginable.

Traditional enterprises, whilst presently successful by today’s standards, are scrambling to make sense of Business Digitisation in order to stay relevant in the Digital future. Many are attempting to create new Digital business models which will eventually cannibalise their traditional business, rather than capitulating to new disruptive Digital start-ups. Companies are also digitising their products and services, along with operational processes and customer channels. Over 70% of top fortune 500 companies have plans to offer their products as a Digital service by 2020.  Presently, the 10 most valuable start-ups globally are estimated to have a value of $172.7 billion – all embracing Digital platform based business models. Around 90% of the business models in 2020 will be driven by the cloud.

Cloud computing concept with copy space

Globally, the number of connected devices will nearly quadruple by 2025, significantly altering the skills employers hold most valuable. Increasing connectivity will change how employees choose to work (for example: remotely, part-time, independently, or dispersed), and provide employers with a spectrum of hiring options.

Millennials, most of whom are Digital Natives, will comprise an estimated 48.3% of the global labour force in 2025, while those aged 60 and older will comprise 9.9% (compared with 7.9% in 2015).

Each day, new Digital innovators are emerging to cause disintermediation and disruption across every industry imaginable

The line between what has traditionally been business and IT is becoming more and more blurred. Largely due to the early adoption and impact of Digital marketing, The Chief Marketing Officer or CMO, now controls a bigger “IT” budget and influence than the CIO. This is only set to increase and expand across the organisation, as Digital Natives become future business leaders.

What new skills and expertise will be required to lead and manage the Digital enterprise of the future?

As robots, AI and Digital algorithms continue to replace many jobs and professions; new and emerging professions by 2025 will focus more on human interaction, augmented through Digital mechanisms. Jobs requiring uniquely human characteristics, such as cultural deftness, caretaking, or empathy, and creative thinking, are those least threatened by automation.

The ability to work anywhere, anytime is fuelling the Digital nomad trend, which is highly appealing to millennials, but will also blur political and economic boundaries, and test national labour codes.

Artificial Intelligence, its subfields, and automation will create some specific reflecting trends associated with new and emerging technology advances. Career gains from AI and automation include:

  • Artificial Intelligence technology and automation salesperson
  • Specialist programmers
  • Cybersecurity experts
  • Engineering psychologists
  • Robot and automation technology manufacturer, distributor, servicer, and refurbisher
  • Technology-specific trainer
  • Neuro-implant technicians
  • Virtual health care specialist
  • Virtual reality experience designer

Conclusion:

Digital transformation cannot be ignored without becoming irrelevant, and an adaptive Digital strategy is imperative.

The Digital workforce will be largely millennial, and significantly different from today in terms of culture, leadership style and skills. Artificial Intelligence, robots and Digital algorithms will automate many professions, but jobs requiring uniquely human characteristics – or are critical to the development of Digital solutions – will be in great demand by 2025.

A holistic Digital transformation strategy, which considers the Digital workforce along with the business model, process and customer channel dimensions, will be imperative for organisations wishing to remain relevant in the next 10 years

With Wayne Houghton, Director of Growth Implementation Solutions, Frost & Sullivan Africa

Facebook launches Agency Ambassador programme for Africa

First ambassadors to lead digital training and skills development for peers

Facebook has launched an Agency Ambassador Programme for Africa as part of its drive to equip its agency partners with the skills and information they need to make the most of Facebook as a marketing and advertising platform. Agency Ambassadors have a direct line to Facebook and receive extensive training to help them become their agency’s expert in Facebook’s tools, technologies and solutions.

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Delegates representing 32 top media agencies from four countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa) gathered at a three-day summit in Johannesburg from 29 March to 1 April, where a Facebook team from around the world trained them to become Africa’s first Facebook Agency Ambassadors. The collaborative training equipped participants with the resources they need to understand how to drive real business results through digital marketing, and in turn share this knowledge within their organizations. The forum also afforded an opportunity for the agency representatives to provide feedback to Facebook.

The launch of the program follows within a year after the opening of Facebook’s first office in Africa—based in Johannesburg, South Africa— when Facebook committed to supporting and up-skilling businesses across the continent.

“We’re so excited to launch the Facebook Agency Ambassador Program, a first for Africa,” says Nunu Ntshingila, Head of Africa for Facebook. “As media transcends to digital, it’s of crucial importance that these Ambassadors are equipped to take their learnings back to their agencies –  both digital and traditional – so that they can make the most of the digital opportunity, and ultimately grow brands and businesses.”

The programme incorporates Facebook Blueprint, an education program that trains agencies, partners and marketers on how to use Facebook. Combining online courses, in-person training and certification, Blueprint trains marketers on everything from campaign optimization and how to use video on Facebook to effective ad measurement solutions. The foundation of Blueprint is its eLearning center, which features more than 50 online courses and has tracks organized by category, such as direct response marketing, as well as tracks designed for specific roles, such as digital buying.

According to Elizma Nolte, Head of Business Marketing for Facebook Sub-Saharan Africa, “Our goal with the Agency Ambassador Programme is to empower agencies to help their clients make the most of our platforms. It’s also a way for us to listen to agencies and learn more about what they need in their specific markets, so that we can improve offerings across the Facebook family of services. Facebook is a partnership company at heart, and this kick-off summit is simply the beginning of a long-term partnership with agencies across the continent.”