Africa is closely watched as the next big growth market – a description that has persisted for a while. Despite many reasons for optimism, growth in Africa has stalled; both the IMF and the World Bank have cut their 2019 economic growth projections for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to 3.5% and 2.8% respectively, with growth in 2018 at 2.3%. Does the true acceleration potential for the region lies in the rapid spread of mobile digital technology, which would help the region “leapfrog” ahead in its economic development? The Tufts Fletcher School, in a research project funded by the Mastercard Impact Fund, examined this proposition. In a study of six key countries drawn from different sub-regions, the authors examined three primary categories of levers that could translate digital technology uptake into development and inclusive growth: jobs enabled by digital platforms; institutional drivers necessary for digital success; and the foundational digital potential of the country.
Africa is closely watched as the next big growth market – a description that has persisted for a while. There are many reasons for optimism: the African continent is home to some of the youngest populations in the world, it promises to be a major consumption market over the next three decades, and it is increasingly mobile phone-enabled. An emerging digital ecosystem is particularly crucial as multiplier of that growth, because access to smart phones and other devices enhances consumer information, networking, job-creating res, and even financial inclusion.