Telecommunications technology is the clear winner of infrastructure platforms that can spearhead Africa’s leading emerging economies to be global powerhouses within the next few decades. Telecoms platforms are used daily to interact with peer to peer and centralized networks. We primarily communicate with our family and friends locally and abroad now through mobile phones. The very existence of this article has involved one or two main telecom components. As many tools are developed from the computer science discipline focused for mobile phones, websites, project management, computers etc the very way these tools interact with the user is through a form of communication.

Telecommunication technology especially in the form of mobile phones are used in a variety of use cases for the user. Some people say the average African is an entrepreneur, and I believe that to be true. Entrepreneurs now equipped with tools to help scale their businesses can thank telecommunication services and technology for their growth.


Chart Analysis:  Mobile-Cellular Subscription: Source Google Public Data


This chart indicates growth of mobile cellular subscriptions from leading African countries from 1998 to 2015, it also indicates an estimated count of 150 million mobile cellular subscriptions for Nigeria in 2015 confirming majority of Nigerians are mobile phone owners and cellular service customers.

Many technological innovations have entered the African market, but mobile technology is one to continue along the growth path as the African population continues to increase. With mobile networks in place, the basis and fundamental layer for infrastructures to be built upon them is now available to the new innovative African entrepreneurs and creative leaders, who should take advantage of this continental mobile coverage to assist in solving the challenges the continent faces.

As a continent Africa faces many challenges with regards to governance, unemployment, corruption, trade and poverty to name a few. These are not small challenges and will not be solved overnight, but telecoms infrastructure has a key role to play in helping to address some of these challenges. Bad governance and corruption now can be counteracted with Blockchain technology, and large mobile network penetration allows people to participate in the ecosystem. Horizon State a platform built to enhance secure voting is leading examples for Governance innovation, and earlier this year an article relating to Sierra Leone using blockchain for their election processes was published. Lack of access to eduction and skills can be addressed by utilizing education technology which can be accessed from your mobile device.

Industries that have began to take advantage of the increased connectivity include, Agriculture; Education; Entertainment; Finance; Healthcare; Media; Real estate; Technology and Transport. Startups and traditional companies alike have started to take advantage of the mobile network in place to innovate there specific industry. 300+ hubs have emerged in the African tech startup ecosystem to help new companies create solutions to innovate the continent. Zenvus is utilizing technology to enhance their precision farming solution to help farmers apply the right fertilizer and optimally irrigate their farms. Optiweb, a digital and mobile solutions company is using the mobile network available to reach out to audiences of mobile educational solutions, digital content, social media solutions simultaneously bringing valued innovation to consumers and businesses in African region. Companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram are researching and exploring the potential use of Blockchain technology to help improve their platforms.

As industries are integrating more with digital technological concepts the ideas and opportunities seem to be endless. With the number of creatives on the continent and the natural hustle that’s embedded within Africans the instrument of mobile telecom can be the fundamental layer to create impact. Communication is key and with more than half of global population growth between now and 2050 expected to occur in Africa according to the United Nations, mobile networks will be the bridge to connect the continent.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the Future Africa Forum.