Thursday, 19 July 2012

IT Growth and Population in Africa

IT has revolutionised how business is done, with this new age in IT everyone is presented an opportunity to air their views, do business, or any other business on the internet. With the ever increasing importance of the internet and other IT services, how disadvantaged is Africa? Can Africa move with the rest of the world finally, or will Africa be left behind once more?

Firstly we need to analyse the costs of IT. What has been observed the world through is that costs reduce as numbers increase. But with a number of countries in Africa having small populations in comparison with most western countries, it is almost inevitable that Africa may find itself disadvantaged once more even in this new era.

Take for instance a country like Zambia, with about 13 million people spread out over an area of 752612 sq. Km it can hardly compete for IT service provision against a country like Nigeria with a population of about 162 million people spread over an area of 923,768 sq. Km. It now seems that the greater a country’s population, the greater its spending power or market power. The Nigerian market is one of Africa’s most attractive markets for any service or product. The question now is, what is the way forward, do we encourage population growth in order to have a greater market for IT services in African countries? Great countries like China, Russia, and the USA all started out with a powerful internal market demand for services and products in there early growth stages. It is an essential part of development in service provision. If a foreign business was looking for new markets, one major concern would always be market size. Countries with smaller populations will therefore always be disadvantaged in this regard.

The necessary infrastructures needed in IT service provision are tremendously costly. Most African governments find it a hard decision to allocate resources to IT infrastructure. Faced with many other pressing problems it is difficult for many African governments to simply re-direct insufficient resources to IT development despite the many benefits of IT in development. 

The question now is, what options does Africa have?

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