If Africa does not have the right to quote in the technological world, young Africans believe in the potential of their continent in terms of innovation. They are even convinced that the next tech billionaires will all come from Africa. This is indicated by a study by the NGO Africa No Filter conducted in nine countries, including Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Uganda.
When we talk about science and technology, we rarely mention Africa. Unlike Asia, Europe and the United States, which have the largest numbers of tech companies, startups and billionaires. Yet young Africans believe that their continent will soon become the land of innovation and big business. These convictions are enshrined in a report published on November 16, 2022 by Africa No Filter, an NGO fighting against stereotypes about Africa.
A preference for available local technologies
Entitled “Africa – innovator or imitator? Exploring narratives around Africa’s technological capabilities”, this survey was conducted among 4,500 people aged 18 to 35 in nine African countries. Namely Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of these young people come from urban and rural areas and have a higher or secondary level of education. According to the study, 79% of respondents believe that poor countries can produce innovative technological solutions capable of influencing the world. West African youth are the most optimistic (83%).
Respondents believe in the development of technologies in Africa, as the population is ready to consume locally. According to the Africa No Filter study, most young people trust African innovations and prefer to use them when they are available. However, only 9% of them have ever invested in technology companies. While 18% say they are ready to do so in the future. If the financial means are lacking, they judge at 59% that the African environment is favorable to innovation.
The next Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg in Africa
Contrary to all expectations, 63% of the young people surveyed believe that governments cannot assume the role of innovation drivers alone. For half (50%) of them, everyone must contribute to the development of technologies, out of necessity and out of curiosity. Regarding the main obstacles to innovation, young Africans point in particular to the lack of infrastructure (53%), state restrictions (44%) and the lack of incentives (36%). Despite these barriers, 72% of respondents believe the next world-class innovator will come from Africa.
Better, they are convinced that the continent will produce the largest number of billionaires in the sector in the coming years. To believe them, Africa should soon have its Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg or even Jeff Bezos. While waiting for this moment, young Africans are delighted that local innovations are already beginning to transform certain sectors. Like health, trade and governance. This bubbling in tech has also enabled 109 African fintech companies to raise more than a billion dollars in growth financing this year.