Africa’s desire for innovative technology has caught the attention of US mobile tech giants who appear to be on a mission to exploit the fast-growing potential for customer acquisition.
As the African middle-class continues to grow, top American mobile technology firms have spotted a reliable, mobile-first customer base, which offers them the most practical alternative to their already saturated Western markets.
According to Fortune, 99 percent of internet subscriptions in Africa at the moment are through mobile devices. Thus, most of these big technology companies view Africa as their next big frontier.
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The growing interest in Africa is evidenced by the numerous foreign technology firms that are currently running recruitment programs in Africa. These programs are aimed at identifying talent and growth opportunities in the ICT sector.
According to Business Daily, at least 100 vacancies are currently open at top technology firms such as Google, IBM, Microsoft and Facebook, and most of these companies have promised to increase their focus on the African talent pool.
In 2013, Microsoft created its first major African initiative, dubbed “4Afrika Initiative” and estimated to be worth $75 million. The program’s main objective was to train thousands of potential employees and place tens of millions of smart technology devices in the hands of African youth, according to Gregvondoersten.com.
Speaking at the launch of 4Afrika Initiative in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013, the program’s general manager Mr. Fernando de Sousa said:
“The world has recognized the promise of Africa, and Microsoft wants to invest in that Promise. We want to empower African youth, entrepreneurs, developers, and business and civic leaders to turn great ideas into a reality that can help their community, their country, the continent and beyond.”
Microsoft also hopes to establish strong technological foundations in Africa by supporting millions of online businesses through the 4Afrika initiative. These businesses will in turn become top consumers of the technology the company plans to produce.
The American mobile tech giant has also brought low-budget, smart mobile devices to the African market, most of which come with applications that are uniquely developed for first-time smartphone users and developers.
Google is also increasingly active in Africa, particularly in the connectivity sector. The internet giant is currently working out plans to introduce its latest project, Project Loon, which is a network of balloons designed to deliver internet connectivity to remotest parts of the world.
Last month, Google announced its plans to train one million young Africans with the aim of giving them a competitive edge in the job market.
Facebook, on the other hand, has introduced numerous free basic services in different parts of Africa, hoping to make essential internet services accessible to more people on the continent.
Without doubt, Africa’s potential for growth lies in its ability to adopt new technologies like the internet and mobile phones. This is expected to attract more multinational mobile tech giants as they compete to fill the existing gap.