Africa is an incredibly exciting and interesting place! Apart from its diversified cultures, traditions and landscapes, it is home to a base of consumers who are also diverse and complex. But the contexts that shape these consumers are significantly unique.

Africa’s urban topography is reflective of its social realities – from expensive suburbs to sprawling mega-cities, from rural living to communities of extreme traditionalists, from wealthy enclaves to poverty-stricken areas. In fact, the difference between African markets is perhaps greater than in any other continent. So while there is no such thing as an “African consumer,” there are definitely some trends that are being adopted across the board

A budding generation of technologists, coders and entrepreneurs are rising to solve their continent’s most pressing problems. Entire new industries around payment solutions, healthcare and power sourcing are springing up in in Kenya, Nigeria and other countries.

Africa is widely accepted as having the second fastest growing mobile market. Infrastructural challenges, connectivity issues and limited accessibility created a need for mobile communication and that need is being met by innovation in the form of sustainable start-ups and tech-focused businesses. IT News Africa identified six interesting technology trends that seem to be shaping the way for Africa in 2016 and onward:

  1. The Development Of Undersea cables

The development of undersea cables has given rise to a new era in connectivity – especially when it comes to providing access to parts of the continent that were previously unreachable by traditional means. The internet is empowering Africans to enter the world of online business and entrepreneurship online. It is also creating opportunities for marketers and business people from the world beyond Africa, to engage with communities that were once unreachable.

  1. Mobile Money Dominating The Fintech Arena

This in my opinion, is ingenious – especially for African countries who lack banking facilities and the means by which to access them. The idea of mobile money and the concept of being able to pay for things using your mobile has been adopted throughout. The most notable mobile money product, M-Pesa, is a branchless banking service, run by both Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom Tanzania. The ‘M’ stands for mobile, while ‘Pesa’ is the Swahili word for money. Online research shows that M-Pesa is currently the most developed mobile payment system in the world. Proudly African.

  1. The Active Roll Out Of Better Infrastructure

Solar power is vital to the power-generation strategies in many parts of Africa. The benefits are endless. For example, Samsung has rolled out classrooms that are entirely solar powered, supplying power to computers and internet access. The use of solar power is reshaping the continent – especially in rural areas.

  1. The Introduction Of Solar Power

Solar power is vital to the power-generation strategies in many parts of Africa. The benefits are endless. For example, Samsung has rolled out classrooms that are entirely solar powered, supplying power to computers and internet access. The use of solar power is reshaping the continent – especially in rural areas.

  1. Mobile Healthcare

This innovation is allowing Africa to become a continent where access to medical care, records and ongoing treatment is indeed a possibility. Patients can receive medical information via mobile phones. Also m-Health makes use of mobile technology to an even greater extent, by developing traditional medical devices into mobile units that can be transported by doctors into rural areas. This has provided millions of citizens with immediate access to previously inaccessible medical equipment and care. From a medical point, this is truly ground-breaking.

  1. Cheaper Smartphones

With more and more mobile providers fighting for the place in the African sun, users are spoilt for choice in terms of available models and features. This competition has compelled manufacturers to introduce lower-priced smartphones with greater functionality, and this competition will continue to rise. With increased mobile accessibility, comes increased accessibility to the internet.

These are huge growth opportunities for businesses and brands in Africa, and the chance to really do things differently. The key is to understand diversity, appreciate cultural differences and to think of Africa as a continent full of countries with many different needs, desires, skills and obstacle. It’s all about finding ways to tap into these opportunities. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this beautiful place.

Joanne Reid- Head of Client Services, WWC

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