Super Cities №18 — Building the Future in Africa

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

A telecommunications boom is lifting an industry and a continent.

Nowhere is the trend more pronounced than in Ghana, where the value of products and services produced by the information and communication sector surged 239 percent since 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, by far the fastest growth of any economic sector.


Years ago, I heard wonderful, to-the-core career and life advice: when you’re young, live in the most exciting place in the world.

Go to the action. Go to where people are building the future.

In 2017, you can make the case that the most exciting trends in innovation are happening in Africa:

  • By 2034, Africa is expected to have the world’s largest working-age population (1.1 billion)
  • Over the next decade, nearly 200 million Africans will move into cities
  • Between 2010 and 2020, mobile phone usage is expected to increase from 2% to 50%
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, mobile innovation accounted for nearly 8 percent of GDP

A necessary caveat: Africa is a big, diverse continent. Some countries will advance quickly, and other nations will stagnate. Corruption and the rule of law are not-yet-resolved issues continent-wide.

But if you care about innovation, invest your time and energy in Africa.

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