Leapfrogging in Africa

Oct 6, 2016 Blog  Africa , Digital Technology , Innovation



Digital is developing at a fast pace in Africa. It’s a strange thought to grasp, as the majority of the continent doesn’t even have electricity. Most technologies are out of reach for most Africans, yet digital technology has a place in Africa.

Sometimes challenges turn into opportunities and whilst the governments and telecommunications companies struggle to provide the African people with internet access, some tech companies and SME’s have attempted to tackle this challenge and improve the overall lack of data and services. The African people have recently been reaping the benefits of digital technology, therefore it seems as though the tech companies and SME’s are defeating this challenge.

Driven by innovation, many people on the African continent are now exposed to mobile money transfer and marketplace lending, amongst other Fintech solutions. The traditional way of banking has been disrupted by virtual banking and this indicates leapfrogging, as the majority of African people didn’t have the luxury of previously experiencing traditional banking. Often, harsh conditions force out of the box thinking and this leads to breakthrough innovations.

A simple example of leapfrogging is telephone landlines. In developed economies, it was normal practice to obtain a telephone landline to communicate with friends and family and years later mobile phones were created. In Africa, the majority of the population will not know what it is like to own a landline telephone and never will, as they have jumped directly to utilising mobile phones. “The main idea beyond the concept of leapfrogging is that small and incremental innovations lead the dominant firm to stay ahead. However, sometimes, radical innovations will permit to new firms to leapfrog the ancient and dominant firm.”- Wikipedia.

Many of the technological innovations in Africa are creating job opportunities for locals and are being implemented in developed countries.


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