As African enterprises embrace emerging tech, coders are hard to find

Competition with global firms for developers puts pressure on African businesses; flexible work environments and tech hubs can help.

As an increasing number of African enterprises look to adopt emerging technology, the market for developers has become tighter than ever, with companies scrambling to figure out where to find programming talent, and how best to attract and retain IT staff.

Nearly 80% of private enterprises report that lack of skilled technical staff undercuts revenue, according to PwC’s Africa Private Business Survey 2019, which polled decision-makers in 200 private businesses in nine key sub-Saharan countries. The skills gap appears to be hitting West Africa the hardest, with 82 percent of survey respondents reporting losses due to lack of in-house tech skills. In southern and East Africa, 78 percent of respondents reported losses due to insufficient in-house talent.

The shortage of talent is due in part to the intense interest in emerging technologies, and the fast ramp-up of new tech initiatives that businesses across the continent are attempting to do. Eighty-one percent of respondents to the PwC survey reported that they see digitalisation as “highly relevant” to their future, compared with 65% in the European Union.

African enterprises eye blockchain, AI, IoT

Emerging tech such as IoT, blockchain and AI, “are already on the radar for African businesses and the relevance of these technologies is rated much higher than in more economically developed EU economies,” PwC reports. “Three-quarter see IoT technologies as relevant for their business, and nearly 50% also rate blockchain highly. AI, 3D printing, and augmented reality (AR) are also considered relevant by around one-third of respondents.”

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