Jann Lay / Tevin Tafese

Africa’s Emergent Tech Sector: Its Characteristics and Impact on Development and Labour Markets

GIGA Working Papers | 2023

  • Abstract

    This study investigates the characteristics of Africa’s tech sector, its digital services, and its impact on economic development, specifically on labour markets. Our literature review and new analyses based on a database of African startups shows that Africa’s emergent tech sector is adapting to the continent’s constraints on development and, sometimes, contributes to overcoming them. A case in point is the credit constraints that numerous startups have overcome to attract very significant amounts of capital. Tech startups tend to be concentrated
    in financial services in the “Big Four”: Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. We show, first, that “home-grown” African platform businesses do not simply connect demand and supply, but also invest in logistics and infrastructure; second, that many tech firms offer multiple products that complement the original service; and third, that business models often rely on large networks of agents. We conclude that more evidence on the impact of digital technologies is needed.


    GIGA Working Papers

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    German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)



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