Why major multinational technology companies are fighting hard to win-over Africa

In the last few years, the presence of major multinational technology companies in Africa is fast becoming more obvious. This trend is different from the usual charity case, but coming to do real business.

Since the beginning of the new millennium, portrayal of Africa by these companies has changed.

Investments and programmes of African focus are now been planned to burnish corporate sustainability posture for their organization. With the youth as their main target.

Within July 2017, two of the global leaders (Jack Ma of Alibaba and Sundar Pichai of Google) in the technology business have visited the continent. One of the reasons is to assess what business opportunity the continent has to offer.

Why this sudden change? Why is Africa now the new jewel now? Is it simply for achieving sustainable business growth?

Africa is a continent with over 1 billion people spread over 50 countries. About 51% of these people are youth and tech savvy.

The continent also has a high mobile and internet penetration rates which posit availability of a market for tech products. With saturations of other major markets, Africa is now seen as a new frontier for new customers.

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Three of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies (Senegal, Tanzania and Ivory Coast) are also within the continent.

Important: “The assessment of Africa by these big tech multinationals is that you have got growth there. And we are going to get it.”

Hence, connecting with the market is considered key to gaining more of available market in the continent. With the Connectivity concept being considered potent for their business growth, more of these tech giants are jumping on the plane to get to Africa.

Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of the 4Afrika Initiative confirmed this as the major position as regards its approach to Africa.

“The work that we are doing today is very much driving a market development for Microsoft on the continent.”

“The SMEs of today will be the multinationals of tomorrow. More and more companies are looking at Africa. There is a business element and reasoning to invest in Africa today,” Abdella stated.

Other factors can be adduced for the relative advancements in the upstream and downstream tech market in the Africa. Upstream for tech products development and downstream for deployment of these tech products are meant to drive business operations.

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Making the need for Internet connectivity a necessity in the continent. Thus, many tech multinationals are increasingly active to capture any business opportunities these tend to offer.

Companies such as Google, Huawei, Ericsson, Samsung and others are now driving the whole connectivity concept to the question of building businesses in Africa.

Charlene Munillal, General Manager of Huawei Consumer Business Group stated that: “Without connectivity, there is no need for a phone. More than 60 per cent of our smartphone and tablet portfolio is LTE-enabled so we are definitely future proofing as a company.”

“We want to grow our market share for both volume and value in the short term. We also aim to offer a complete solution to Africans; network, connectivity and devices,” Charlene said.

Since the business potentials are huge in Africa, many of these multinational tech giants will continue their inroad to the continent.

For these tech giants, Africa is currently the only business space with the potential to sustain their projected growth plan.



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