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Why the West is Ignoring Africa 2.0

In Ghana, the government undertakes 60-70 percent of purchases. In most cases, it does not purchase local technology from local companies. Local businesses are therefore left to compete and operate in the remaining 30-40 percent of the available market. Multinationals broadly import their technology from their head offices, which are normally headquartered in the West, further disenfranchising local companies. Unfortunately, our governments have not done anything to provide protection or encouragement for local industries as most western governments have.
To make a difference, we need to treat African enterprises as equals, building and fostering trade and business ties within Africa and internationally. We need deliberate public-policy initiatives and directives that support digital entrepreneurs and the IT sector, as exist for the mining, telecommunications, oil and gas, cash crops, and foreign direct investment sectors.
Practically, this means governments should be encouraged to give contracts to local companies, enabling them to gain experience and become more competitive locally and internationally. More platforms like my website, www.shopafrica53.com, and mobile-based payment systems would oil the wheels of e-commerce for the average person.
Part and parcel to all this is literacy. Millions of illiterate Africans will have challenges using the smartphones and computers needed to take part in the digital marketplace. This needs to be addressed before any major uptake of smartphones will be possible. African IT innovations based on SMS are working very well as they can be made illiterate friendly, and are cheaper and more reliable. I therefore anticipate a more incremental shift in usage of smartphones, broadly mirroring increases in literacy rates.
In the two decades since I started SOFTtribe, Ghana’s leading software developer, I’ve witnessed the proliferation of mobile phone and Internet communications, the spread of democracies, and the uptake of the rule of law. There are also recent indications of brain gain. What a pity it would be for the West to ignore the second chapter of this indigenous digital revolution.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=136

Posted by on Jul 26 2012. Filed under International. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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