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Africa is still a key ICT investment destination if 50 African leaders securing substantive investments in the field of ICT at the recent US-Africa summit hosted President Obama is anything to go by.

Mark Walker, regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa at the International Data Corporation (IDC), believes many of the initiatives and opportunities presented at the summit are strongly dependent on the rollout of innovative technologies across the continent.

“Just as the provision of communication infrastructure and services has accelerated the development of economic opportunity across Africa, so too will 3rd Platform technologies such as mobile, cloud, big data, and social media drive the next wave of development in Africa,” said Walker.

“While these technologies represent the foundation for innovation, the key to success will be successfully developing relevant answers to Africa’s requirements in the government, energy, finance, and commercial sectors, while simultaneously ensuring benefits to both local and American partners.”

According to the IDC, six of the ten fastest growing world economies are African, and over the last decade the average income in the continent has increased by 30 per cent.

Despite the huge size of the market, the IDC expects overall IT spending in Africa to expand at a very healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3 per cent over the next five years to total US$33.4 billion in 2018, a 36% increase from today’s figure.

South Africa is set to grow at a rate of 5.7 per cent, while Kenya and Nigeria will both show growth of more than 7 per cent. The banking and finance, telecommunications, energy, healthcare, and transportation sectors will be responsible for the lion’s share of this IT investment growth.

High demand for mobility solutions and a strong drive to improve network and data connectivity in key markets are going to contribute to investments in IT in Africa.

“Africa has played host to massive growth in mobile phone usage in recent years and IDC expects mobile technologies to catalyse investment, with mobile enterprise applications becoming a leading priority,” said Walker. “Governments will also invest in fibre-optic cables, public services, content, and governance and compliance oversight to ensure the security of transactions online.”

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