In this piece for the Africa at LSE blog, I argue that as tech solutions by African entrepreneurs are replicated globally, governments must make necessary investments in infrastructure and Research & Development.

Economists hardly agree on anything but if there is one thing most of them agree on, it is that technology and innovation are critical for economic growth and development. This perhaps explains why the latest innovations out of Africa have led many to believe that through technology, Africa can ‘leapfrog’ its development.

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A woman enters M-Pesa mobile money agent in Kenya Image Credit: Erict via Flickr (https://bit.ly/2uCywqp)

Indeed, the signs are encouraging – the phenomenal rise in tech hubs across the continent and the innovations developed by young African entrepreneurs have driven this narrative. Stories such as the bloodless malaria test invented by a 24-year-old young Ugandan entrepreneur; or the famous M-Pesa– a mobile payment platform that has revolutionised the transfer and receipt of money, are visible testimonials of Africa’s nascent technological rise.

These developments are remarkable not just because young Africans are providing local solutions to Africa’s problems, but because these technology solutions can replicated all over the globe. M-Pesa, for instance, has been adopted in several countries across Asia and eastern Europe. Global technology giants are taking notice – Google, Microsoft and Facebook are investing in African start-ups and launching new programmes to tap into this emerging pool of talent. Therefore, it is not hard to see why this leapfrogging narrative has become predominant.

You can read the rest of the article here: Africa at LSE.

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