In the years to come, three countries have the potential to become the new hi-tech countries of the continent, after (Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa) “Nation Startup”: Rwanda, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Kigali is expected to build on its strengths in governance, digital evolution and mobile money penetration if Rwanda continues to invest in infrastructure. With 94% of the population having access to 4G, Rwanda has the highest connectivity and Internet penetration in Africa. The hinterland and peripheries are as well connected as Kigali and the urban centers. And Rwanda is already in telemedicine, with a dedicated department in the Ministry of Health. Rwanda, a true hi-tech country, in the making.
For Egypt, its comparative advantage lies in the capacity of its digital ecosystem to facilitate the creation of medium and high-skilled digital jobs. Strategic crossroads – at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East – global players such as Apple, Google, LG Electronics, VMware, Lenovo, Hewlett Packard, Flextron or Honeywell, have chosen Egypt to build their African technology training centers, ICT and telecom equipment and infrastructure manufacturing plants and to open their offices for Africa. With an estimated population of 110 million and an average age of 18 years, the second most populous country in Africa, Ethiopia is the “sleeping African giant” on the African technology scene. And when Ethiopia wakes up (9 active technological poles)-soon to be-it will be when high-speed Internet access is more reliable and affordable, and power cuts are brought under control. It will also be when its legal framework will be less restrictive for start-ups and other entrepreneurs, both for raising capital and for business registration. And not least, when Ethiopia overcomes its almost total reliance on cash payments, which still hampers the full potential of its digital economy.
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