The potential of the fourth industrial revolution in Africa


The potential of the fourth industrial revolution in Africa report shows an African tech sector taking flight the report was funded by the African Development Bank.

The Technopolis Group carried out research and study of the report. The report was presented during a seminar hosted by the African Development Bank last week.

According to the report, in 2019, approximately 6,500 technology start-ups were identified in Africa, among which about 10% develop applications that characterize the fourth industrial revolution.

Francie Sadeski, partner and lead in emerging markets at Technopolis, said the foundation has been laid for the fourth industrial revolution.

“The figures exceed forecasts and indicate that the basis for Africa’s growth into the fourth industrial revolution is already there,” she said during a presentation on the report.

By 2019, the report notes that venture capital of more than $100 million was invested in African Internet of Things start-ups making it by far the most attractive 4IR technology for investors on the continent. By 2021, the market is projected to reach a value of $12.6 billion in Africa and the Middle East.

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“It is an opportunity for the continent to embrace change and capture new opportunities at the same time that the same revolution is happening everywhere else in the world,” said Abdu Mukhtar, Director of the Industrial and Trade Department at the African Development Bank.

In Additive Manufacturing about $47 million was invested in Africa by 2019, according to the report. By 2022, the market is estimated to reach $1.3 billion. Other encouraging statistics include: artificial intelligence start-ups attracting $17.5 million and blockchain start-ups attracting $14.9 million in 2019.

Human capital is only part of the equation, said the CEO of MTN Côte d’Ivoire,Djibril Ouattara.

He said learning institutions must “instil entrepreneurship in youths and teach them how to create business plans, We need schools that give exposure to our youths, We need to build ecosystems around various schools. It’s one thing to build technology, but it’s another to have viable business models.”

The Division Manager of ICT Operations at the African Development Bank, Nicholas Williams, said ecosystems need not be formal.

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