Mauritius emerges as African trailblazer in meeting key ICT milestones
Mauritius, Rwanda and Ghana aren’t far behind South Africa, Kenya and Seychelles on the African ICT landscape; experts estimate thatwith enough attention and focus in the coming years, they have the potential to provide a worthwhile reward to investors.
Over the past decade, countries such as South Africa, Kenya, and Seychelles have emerged as Africa’s tech hubs. Kenya especially is being increasingly touted as the Silicon Savannah, owing its position to technologies like M-Pesa and Ushahidi being exported worldwide.
However, with the growing focus on mainstreaming information andcommunications technology, Africa is creating new tech hubs that are worthy of consideration by investors.While South Africa, Kenya, and Seychelles have taken a leap into the future, Rwanda, Mauritius, and Ghana aren’t far behind. With enough attention and focus in the coming years, they have the potential to provide a worthwhile reward to investors.
As for Mauritius, it launched Africa’s first cellular system in 1989 and the continent’s first commercial 3G mobile service in 2004. The country holds the position of Africa’s trailblazer in realising key ICT milestones, which bodes well in an industry defined by accelerating dynamism and innovation.
The creation of Business Parks of Mauritius in 2001, during the dot-com boom, gave Mauritius a considerable head start in Africa’s tech race. Between 2004 and 2010, the country’s ICT sector witnessed annual growth averagingat 15.4%, compared to its modest average economic growth of 4.3%, making the ICT sector a major engine of expansion.
Mauritius’ National ICT Strategic Plan over a plan horizon of 2014 outlined bold targets for deploying ICT solutions in sectors like health and education.
Rwanda recently ranked fourth in networked readiness in Africa, behind only Mauritius, South Africa, and Morocco — all considered more developed economies. This ranking is of little surprise; Rwanda has an ambitious blueprint for developing ICT. The plan identifies growth in three strategic sectors: financial services, education, and healthcare.
Ghana may appear subtler than Kenya and Mauritius, but it’s an ICT economy worth watching. Over the past decade, the country has carved out its niche in business process outsourcing, a largely ICT-enabled segment.
In 2005 and 2007, Ghana and South Africa were ranked as the only two economies in Sub-Saharan Africa that are competitive in BPO. Then, in 2009, Ghana claimed the top spot as SSA’s most preferred destination for BPO, with many referring to the country as “West Africa’s Bangalore.”
Between 2000 and 2012, revenue generated through the global outsourced service industry doubled to just under USD 100billion — and Ghana is well poised to reap the benefits if it continues to assert its position on the global BPO map.
Finally, thanks to the integration of ICT solutions in day-to-day commerce, infrastructure has grown by robust margins in Rwanda, Mauritius, and Ghana. Strong economic emergence and rising income levels have also changed the status of ICT solutions — once luxuries, they’re now basic needs for consumers.
Internet penetration shows there’s still great potential for growth in these developing regions, and all three countries are benefiting from incubation hubs that are increasing tech entrepreneurship, especially among African youth.
All in all, there are plenty of reasons to invest in these growing markets in Africa, with Mauritius, Rwanda and Ghana leading the charge.