Market trends that are emerging in a post-digital African economy

15 April 2019

The discourse is now moving to a post-digital world, where the differentiating factor among a sea of digitalised firms will become the capacity to deliver personalised services based on individual customer needs – among other things – according to a new report from global management consultancy Accenture.

Businesses in Africa have been navigating a period of rapid digitalisation recently. The continent is set to have as many as 1 billion internet connections over the next two years, which means that the population is set to be wired in. The business environment has been looking to capitalise on this digital market.

While the bigger firms have been quick to adopt digital technology within their operations, smaller businesses were initially weary due to the high costs involved in digital transformation. Nevertheless, a number of these firms are realising the value of digital integration, and Accenture is looking towards the next step.

As per a new report from the firm, most businesses are on their way to digitalisation, which is restoring a certain uniformity to the market. In this context, digitalisation is no longer the differentiating factor. Businesses must now focus on developing mechanisms for customer relationships, among other enhancements.

Market trends that are emerging in a post-digital African economy

The technology that will take centre stage in the new scenario includes distributed ledger technology, artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing (DARQ). Such technologies allow firms to “reimagine entire industries”, as per the firm’s analysis, and nearly 90% of firms are already experimenting with such technology.

Another key trend that is emerging in the post-digital world is the need for cyber security. According to Accenture, cyber security is no longer an individual effort from companies, but must be a collaborative effort across all stakeholders in any given sector that has digitally integrated.

“Ecosystem-driven business connections increase companies’ exposure to risks. Leaders recognise that just as they collaborate with entire ecosystems to deliver best- in-class products, services, and experiences, security must join that e­ffort as well,” says the firm.

“Technology is creating a world of intensely customised and on demand experiences, and companies must reinvent their organisations to find and capture those opportunities as they come,” adds the firm, urging that meeting customer needs is now more about speed than about service.


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Nigeria is home to the most companies that are driving Africa's economic prominence

08 April 2019

As many as 360 companies across Africa have achieved unprecedented growth over the last year, to the extent that global professionals services firm PwC has placed them in its latest edition of the Companies to Inspire Africa 2019, developed in collaboration with the London Stock Exchange. 

Experts have long talked of the economic potential that the African continent holds to become a major financial centre in the global economy, particularly as conditions for business in the region continue to improve gradually. Parts of the continent are now in a position to keep pace with global trends.

To lay the foundation, a number of countries have now come under stable democratic regimes, which has offered the stability required for economic activity to thrive. Economic indicators, on the other hand, have always been in favour of business on the continent, given its vast young population.Sector-wise growth in Africa

As per PwC’s report, Africa is home to nearly 230 million between the ages of 15 and 24, which means that the continent will have a substantial workforce in the near future, provided that this population can be educated and endowed with the requisite skills for development.

In addition, a number of African countries have the benefit of developing their technological, political and regulatory infrastructure at a time when these environments are transforming across the globe, allowing these developments to learn from international trends and best practices.

These conditions are gradually beginning to manifest themselves in the form of economic prosperity, which is leading to the increase in the number of urban centres across the continent, an expanding middle class, and consequently the rapid expansion of the continent’s consumer retail market.Sector-wise growth in Africa (2)

360 companies detailed in the collaborative report between PwC and the London Stock Exchange are operational in a range of different sectors, including the retail sector, as well as a rapidly expanding agricultural sector, which is only expected to growth further in the near future.

Technology is another area of focus for firms across the continent, as they look to capitalise on the market of online users on the continent, which is expected to surpass 1 billion people by as early as 2021. Another benefit that African economies are drawing from their development in the current scenario is energy efficiency.

Sustainable technology is at its peak around the globe as firms around the globe are subject to increasingly stringent environmental regulations. As a result, renewable energy companies in the region have been thriving over the last year. Financial services is another segment that has registered a strong performance.African companies snapshotOverall, the 360 companies hailed from 32 countries across the continent and registered a staggering compound annual growth rate in revenue of 46%. The majority of these companies – 147 – hailed from East Africa, where foreign investment has been rapidly on the rise. 

Western Africa, which is home to the budding economies of Nigeria and Ghana, has the second largest number of companies at 130. In terms of individual countries, Nigeria was home to the most companies at 97, leading the other countries by some distance. South Africa was next with 23 companies.