Opinion

3 Ways Technology Can Drive Economic Growth Of SMEs In Africa

Economic growth - cfamedia

What the Western world has achieved, in terms of economic development and technological advancement arose, as a result of proper and detailed planning.

Their leaders have been able, to see far, into the future and prepared adequately for it.

The reverse has been the case in Africa, recently, the sleeping giant has been, slowly, waking up, to tap into the enormous opportunities, made available by technological innovations.

The question now is, will Africa, ever, catch up with the western world, in terms of technological development, or, has the technological innovation ship, sailed far, into the horizon, leaving the African continent behind, to grapple with outdated junks?

The answer is, ‘No’.

Although, I will simply put it forward that, Africa is a late bloomer, with fertile ground, to accommodate and develop, at an exponential rate.

If only, African leaders can focus more on human resources and technological innovations, the continent stands a better chance of developing, at an exponential rate, which will transit into economic growth.

One area of concern is, in the little or, no impact, felt, on the economic growth of African countries, from the activities of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SME’s.

These are usually attributed to adequate funding, lack of good policies on SMEs and a dearth of technological innovations.

In spite of that, 90% of businesses in Africa, are SMEs, but it has contributed little, or, nothing, to the continent’s economic growth.

According to Cigdem Ertem, Intel Corporation’s Regional Director for Middle East, Turkey and Africa, “Studies by the International Finance Corporation, (IFC), shows that, approximately, 96% of Nigerian businesses, are SMEs, compared to 53% in the US and 65% in Europe, however, SME’s contribute approx. 1% of Nigerian’s GDP, compared to 40% in Asian countries and 50% in the US, or, Europe”.

It might appear worrying that SMEs in the last five years have only, contributed 48% to Nigeria’s GDP. If this is happening in Nigeria, with a population of over 200million people, how are the other African countries faring?

According to Oumar Seydi, International Finance Corporation Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, “African continent formal SME sector has an annual financing gap, of over US $136 billion”.

The only way, through, which this problem can be rectified is if African leaders can start investing more, in ICT skills, to boost SMEs, for economic growth.

Below are 3 ways through, which technology can be used, to boost SMEs, for economic growth

Policy Implementation

The problem with Africa has not been a lack of great policies; the bane of the continent has been the lack of implementation of the good policies laid down.

There are numerous policies, bordering around technology and SMEs that have been abandoned. This has caused the continent to grow at a snail speed.

Policies covering technology and SMEs should be proposed and measures should be put in place, to ensure that, all the policies, are well carried out.

Get The Right Personnel

It is only men that have a clear vision that excels, primarily, because they have been able, to think far into the future.

The right personnel that is, well exposed and understand the simple truth that, at this present age, for SMEs to grow and boost the economy, technology will have to be the driving force.

Technology should be the leveraging factor, to boost the growth of businesses in Africa and it can be achieved, when the right personnel, (talents), are gathered and given the latitude to operate, maximally.

More Focus On Digital Business

Recently, Africans have been more receptive, to technological innovations and the government needs to tap into this.

There should be more focus, on human resources and an enabling environment, through which AI, machine learning, IoT, Robotics, automation, etc., can be used to boost digital businesses.


Featured Image: nccouncil.org


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