AfricaCom: Decade's tech trends can spur growth, but hurdles remain

AfricaCom speakers unpacked the tech trends set to change Africa over the next 10 years, including AI, blockchain and tech-enabled remote work. Here’s what they had to say.

A businesswoman looks into the distance amid abstract technology, colleagues in background.
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A recent panel discussion at AfricaCom opened with a tough question: "Given the impact that COVID-19 and lockdown regulations have had on global economies, will Africa feel the after-effects of the pandemic for the next 10 years?"

According to Tunde Fafunwa, lead advisor at the Digital Centre for Excellence at United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the jury is still out on that one. He did, though, acknowledge that the more immediate and mid-term effects of the pandemic have had a significant impact on the continent as a whole. What is important, noted Razvan Ungureanu, chief technical officer at Airtel Africa, is that as we seek to answer this question, we view each nation across the continent as an individual entity with different needs and regulations that either help or hinder the country's ability to successfully reboot its economy.

So, what technologies do tech leaders expect to drive opportunity for the 50-plus countries that make up the continent in the next decade?

For Fafunwa, it's about different technologies coming together, and the interaction between these innovations that will make a difference. "In linking blockchain technology to micropayments we are set to fundamentally change how much control people have over their money and their data, for example."

Stumbling blocks include poor infrastructure

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