About this study

The study undertook a comprehensive analysis of the major disruptive technologies for Africa – namely AI, IoT, Big Data, 3D printing, Blockchain and drones. In addition to selecting a set of technologies, the study also places specific emphasis on selected sectors or market applications tied to the AfDB’s High 5s. This includes energy (Light up and Power Africa); agriculture (Feed Africa); industry and services (Industrialise Africa); regional integration (Integrate Africa); and health, education, Smart Cities (Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa).

The study also focused on a number of African countries: Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, as well as two countries for benchmark, namely India and South Korea. Additionally, the study looked at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regulatory framework for data protection and cybersecurity.

As a first step, the researchers developed a conceptual framework to conduct the analysis: they considered the enabling factors for the adoption of technologies and took into account the positive and negative interactions between technologies, businesses and their environment. This framework combines a theoretical (potential) and practice-based (concrete cases) approach dovetailing with an hourglass approach (general to country/domain cases) to produce sensible forecast solutions (recommendations).

A comprehensive literature review, about fifty interviews to high level stakeholders, five field visits, written contributions from Korean stakeholders, a survey to three hundred business associations, incubators and investors and a large analysis of VC investments in African start-ups, were carried out for this purpose.

About the African Development Bank

The African Development Bank is the premier pan-African development institution, promoting economic growth and social progress across the continent, with 80 member states, including 54 in Africa. Its development agenda focuses on delivering financial and technical support for transformative projects that will significantly reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable economic growth. In order to sharply focus the objectives of the Ten Year Strategy (2013 – 2022) and ensure greater developmental impact, five major areas have been identified for scaling up, namely: Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. The AfDB has an ICT Operations division responsible for the Bank Group’s Information and Communication technology activities including capacity building and knowledge work on the ICT sector to the benefits of other sectors of the Bank and mainly towards Africa for ICT projects.

About Tambourine Innovation Ventures

TIV is an innovation advisory and venture development firm dedicated to poverty alleviation and sustainable growth through innovation. The company’s core focus is bringing technological innovations to the market, with an emphasis on the poorest sections of society and developing countries; and fostering environmentally positive innovation based sustainable economic development. We create, nurture and scale sustainable entrepreneurial ventures in emerging markets that have positive economic, environmental and social benefits.

The firm has two complementary and mutually reinforcing practice areas – one involves creation of sustainable technology-based ventures for emerging economies; and the second is advisory services on topics related to private sector development, improving business environment, Industry 4.0, innovation, IP, technology commercialization, entrepreneurship, and venture finance.

About Technopolis Group

Technopolis Group is the pre-eminent provider of policy advice and support to decision making – grounded in evidence and experience – to organisations and people with a mission to address environmental and societal challenges and achieve economic growth by means of science, technology, innovation and higher education. Technopolis Group has almost 30 years of experience with more than 3,300 studies for international, regional and local clients working in more than 66 countries.

Technopolis Group has twelve (12) offices located in Europe, Latin America and Africa. It has developed unique expertise in several policy fields: science, technology and innovation; digitalization; private sector development, entrepreneurship and industrial transformation; intellectual property rights and standards; higher education; green economy; health and life sciences. Technopolis Group supports the entire policy development and implementation cycle from concepts through policy and strategy development, program design, management and evaluation as well as the development of governance and institutions.

About Research ICT Africa

Research ICT Africa (RIA) was launched in 2003 and works to fill a strategic gap in the development of a sustainable information society and network knowledge economy by building the ICT policy and regulatory research and capacity needed to inform effective ICT governance in Africa. It does so by conducting high-quality research to facilitate evidence-based ICT policy formulation that will improve access to, use and application of ICT for social and economic development. RIA has developed an Africa-wide research network in over 20 African countries, but carrying out studies, ICT sector performance reviews and the telecom regulatory environment surveys; plus, a significant number of case studies as well.

RIA works/expertise consist of implementing projects, carrying out studies and surveys; research for policy briefs and publishing articles/papers on different themes related to ICT and telecoms sectors. RIA disposes of a wide variety of data on involving; mobile pricing (RIA mobile pricing (RAMP), ICT surveys (business and household surveys), after Access surveys and internet measurements.