- iSON Chief: Africa’s $32b ICT Market Skewed
The Founder/Chairman, iSON Group, Ramesh Awtaney, has said the $32billion market value ascribed to Africa’s information communications technology (ICT) market is skewed.
In a presentation on: Bringing Intellectual Property to Work: Create Onshore Model, Target Offshore Opportunities, at the 2017 London Business School’s Africa Business Summit, he said in a continent of over a billion people, the ICT market in Africa, excluding South Africa is valued at only $10 billion. South Africa’s ICT market is valued at over $22 billion. The country alone accounts for about 68 per cent of the entire market in Africa, making the figure skewed.
Ramesh examined the opportunities in Africa’s ICT sector in relation to India’s industry where ICT is creating a massive jobs. According to him, ICT is the propelling factor in India’s 6.5 per cent average annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth for past two decades and at present commands a 10 per cent share of the country’s GDP. Also, 38 percent of India’s export is ICT services. In the $2 trillion economy, the sector rakes in $100 billion in exports. The best case of ICT export in Africa is that of Kenya where contribution is 0.06 per cent of GDP.
India has been on its ICT journey since the 1990s. Globally, the country represents 55 percent of the ICT offshore market. The $100 billion ICT offshore industry has capitalised on the availability of educated youths. This was achieved through the engagement of all stakeholders through training. If the domestic market is included, the sector is worth $200 billion.
In 2015 approximately 230,000 new jobs were added in India’s ICT sector, while sector’s current overall employment figure remains well north of 10 million. This feat was not achieved on the back of profound innovation or sudden breakthrough. It was a collective determination to get things done by government, academia, and industry experts as a means to fuel economic growth.
Ramesh is convinced that what India did in 25 years can be achieved by Africa within five -10 years if India’s model can be replicated. Like India, all Africa requires is commitment to attain this height. The youth population of India in the age group 15-34, 400 million while Africa is comparable with 300 million youth. The ICT sector requires only one material which is educated youth which Africa seems to have in abundance. Furthermore, in Africa not only English but French, German, Spanish and Arabic are also widely spoken.
In the 1990s and early 2000, offshore was the buzzword in India as jobs moved from Europe and America to India, whereby know how of processes became the intellectual properties. As economies begin to grow in Africa, there is a need to outsource non – core functions. This can be achieved in two ways. Either one brings work to intellectual property or knowledge (intellectual property) to work.