e-eConomy Africa 2020 - Africa’s $180 Billion Internet Economy Future

WASHINGTON - Africa is on course to add $180 billion or 5.2% of aggregate GDP by 2025 thanks to the rapid growth of its internet economy, according to a widely shared report this week from the World Bank’s IFC and Google. Back in 2012, the continent’s internet economy (iGDP) was estimated at just $30 billion, or 1.1% of its GDP.

Africa’s Internet economy is transforming development on the continent by fostering economic opportunities, creating jobs, and providing innovative solutions to complex challenges, like access to healthcare, education, and finance.

This year iGDP will contribute $115 billion, or 4.5% of a $2.554 trillion GDP, says Accenture. In the US the internet economy contributed around 9% of GDP in 2018.

Key to growing an internet economy—which includes everything from banks and fintechs to agritech, e-health, and venture capital—will be the talent that builds the products and engines on which it runs: developers.

The IFC/Google report says there are nearly 700,000 professional developers across Africa with more than than half in five African markets: Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa. That number is still relatively small against Africa’s 1.3 billion people—the US state of California alone has 630,000 developers while Latin America has 2.2 million.

The e-Conomy Africa 2020 report sheds light on the great potential of Africa’s Internet economy, the promising tech entrepreneurs driving innovation, and the growing tech talent across the continent.

Analysis in the report finds that Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to reach $180 billion by 2025, accounting for 5.2% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP). By 2050, the projected potential contribution could reach $712 billion, 8.5% of the continent’s GDP.

Driving this growth is a combination of increased access to faster and better quality Internet connectivity, a rapidly expanding urban population, a growing tech talent pool, a vibrant startup ecosystem, and Africa’s commitment to creating the world’s largest single market under the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Over the next five years, COVID-19 is expected to delay economic growth both in Africa as well as the rest of the world. However, the resilience of the Internet economy, coupled with private consumption, strong developer talent, public and private investment, investments in digital infrastructure, and new government policies and regulations will continue to drive this growth in Africa.

To download the full e-conomy Africa 2020 report, visit: https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/e358c23f-afe3-49c5-a509-034257688580/e-Conomy-Africa-2020.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=nmuGYF2

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