Africa Economic Forum

Digital Communication Industry in Africa

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This overview discusses digital communication and its impact in Africa. Digital space is driven and controlled by only a few powerful private to wester technology giants. Most African countries today no longer own or control their telecommunication infrastructure, as Africans telecommunication and digital infrastructure are been taken over by this big multinationals. As Africa embraces digital transformation for development, the phenomenon seems troubling as by powerful private and big foreign technology companies may re-colonize Africa like in the past , preying on the African digital space, undermining Africans digital sovereignty and may eventually totally dominate the African digital space. Are these feats founded? The chapter seeks to unpack the theoretical and practical understanding of this fear and recommends to arrest the trend.


The advent of digital technology has taken the communication world by storm, offering new paradigm of communication different from what we have always known. No one can resist its power, not even Africa. Just like the rest of the world, the African continent is more and more immersed in this quite new digital technology era. Some even predict the upcoming death of the traditional media such as television, posters and printed advertisements. Digital communication is part of the information science branch and includes the use of digital media such as web, social media, mobile devices. According to several professionals,this new tendency is in vogue because it constitutes a great efficient value and has the potential to reach large numbers of people. All in all, this new trend is, indeed, a pot of gold for job seekers who have now a better chance of finding jobs in that department.

With more than 300 millions of internet users , platforms, tools and online payment methods have literally changed the ways and habits of the continent’s consumers. In Africa, the use of social networks has increased up to 50% in 2016, and is now at 170 millions with 150 millions connecting via their mobiles. Because of that, companies tend to have a strong foothold, online, so they can leave a better mark among the african consumers.

Digital communication has become such a big issue for the foreign investors that it was the main theme of the annual meeting of the Swiss-African Business Circle (SABC)’s “African Business Day”, on june 23rd 2017 in Zurich. The SABC is one of the main organization that offer a platform for swiss companies working in Africa and for swiss and african officials to share their experiences of the African job market. According to Tobias Becker one of the member of the experts and Directors swiss conglomerate named ABB Group (present in 10 african countries), it is very important to establish a constructive competition between the african countries. It is actually the best way to attract foreign investors in the country, especially in the manufacturing business.

One of the practical effect of this digital communication trend spreading all over Africa is the creation of brand new jobs offering new opportunities for job seekers in the continent. thanks to that new digital revolution, jobs in the multimedia field are increasing. Businesses and organizations are forced to adjust to the technological changes and the arrival of new media. Jobs in the communication field are getting more and more popular. from Webmarketer to Project Manager or even Community Manager then Brand content Manager, new jobs are emerging in Africa to meet with the demands in Digital Communication. It is understandable knowing that new innovations require new demands.

It is assumed that the futuretrends in digital communication will continue to be important and digitalliteracy will continue to develop distinct .registers. Nothing could be more obvious than the ways in which writing is changing. We only have to look around us at the ubiquity of text messaging, the increasing dependence on e-mail as a form of communication and the reach of web-based information and entertainment. Thefuture of writing is closely interwoven with the future of digital technology. In fact, when we look at current trends, four tendencies seem to be emerging. These could be characterised as convergence, portability, pervasiveness and transparency. Convergence refers to thecapacity to integrate technological functions in a single device. Hence, the mobile phone doubles up as camera, MP3 player and so on –or the home media system deals with music, TV, telephonics and e-mail. The general direction of convergence is to allow for access to multiple media from a single source. Convergence pairs up with portability, because as devices become more compact and wireless connection becomes more affordable and more ubiquitous,the possibilities of being able to use all media, more or less at any time or place, increase. Pervasiveness suggests that digital technologies will feature in more and more areas of everyday life, becoming even more closely interwoven with the way we get things done. As this pervasiveness increases, it is also likely that technological innovation will focus on making devices and their interfaces more transparent –in ways that touch screens and desktop icons begin to suggest.This relatively brief exploration of digital communication raises some fundamental questions about how we conceptualise literacy and literacy pedagogy. It challenges existing models and definitions of what constitutes text and what it means to be a reader, confounding recent attempts to simplify or reduce literacy to a set of basic skills and routines. Because of the disruptive nature of digital literacy, debates such as these are likely to continue. But in the meantime, researchers and educators would be well advised to begin to address these new literacies.


Digital communication used to be limited only to people knowledgeable about it. It has now become a part of daily life. More user-friendly programs have been developed. The price has also become more reasonable such that users now have more chances to use them. As a result, users’ skills have tremendously improved as well. In the 1990s, only trained experts used graphic design programs but now, many ordinary users are knowledgeable about it because of availability of information from technical books and the Internet. They can also receive feedback from other users through the sharing of information on the Internet. Professional education on graphic design programs is no longer a requirement to execute graphic design. However, many are dependent only on private lessons while the average age of the users continues to go down, meaning that young people are already into graphic design. Further studies need to be undertaken for users who want to be more competent in using the more complicated programs. While it is still not entirely apparent how the thinking of digital natives is changing, new technologies, when presented to teacher candidates in the context of their intended use, which is to enhance the teaching and learning processes, seem to motivate, engage, and offer more opportunities for self-directed learning and reflection. Such technologies provide avenues for creativity and foster inclusion of 21st-century skills in teacher education curricula. When the technology is already familiar and we employ these tools to challenge students to use critical skills, we reap the benefits of teaching today’s students in their familiar spaces. However, the development growth model is shaped like a snail shell, and digital technologies have not been the silver bullet that promoted the leapfrogging of creativity in stagnating countries. Information and communication technologies (ICT) should be considered as a means of technological learning rather than the end of creativity development. The challenge of strengthening stagnating Asian countries to become competitive and innovative nations will continue until the next decade. Unless necessary steps are taken to improve technological learning and local innovations in stagnating countries, their technological dependency will increase and thus deepen the marginalization in the coming eras.

In addition, training programs must be made available to non-users to help them gain knowledge on graphic design. This will prevent them from being alienated in the digital world. This can be regarded as a good government policy especially for a society that now has more senior citizens. Eventually, the average age of new learners will go down. I strongly propose that there be a standard educational policy for popular computer programs. This will help more people participate in digital communication easily.

References Digital Communication in Africa communication in Africa and Cross Roads The digital communication revolution.

AEF Digital Industry Core Group

The Digital communications Industry committee of the AEF brings together the top 100 Digital Communications companies in Africa as ranked by the AEF Industrial Index, and to others by invitation only. Providing access to and using digital information has become a major part of lives in Africa. Globally, about four billion people have internet access and use it regularly. In Africa, digital communications is now considered very important in driving the continent’s future growth and development.


Global advisory committee

A standing committee of the AEF Digital Communications industry committee (DCIC). It provides global advisory and related industry insights to the Digital Industry Committee on how to scale up the operations and impact of the digital Communications industry in Africa; to promote its global competitiveness and improve its collaboration with science and technology Research Institutions in Africa other parts of the world. It would also help to build collaborations with other partners in other parts of the world.
It would be made up of the following:

  • 2 Co-chairpersons
  • A Vice chiarman
  • 9-15 other persons
  • Membership would reflect the 5 sub-regions of Africa and the 5 major regions of the world.

Oversight Committee

Would be responsible for the oversight of the Digital Communications industry committee. It will work to ensure the continued growth and development of the Digital Communications industry committee in Africa and to promote its continued upscaling within the African region and globally.
It Comprises:

  • A Chiarman
  • A Vice chiarman
  • 13 Other Members
  • Membership shall reflect the various regions of Africa and also the various strata of the industry

Technical Committee

Would be responsible for the review of emerging technical, business, political and related issues impacting on the industry in Africa, and advising the Digital Communications industry committee appropriately. It shall have powers to set up various technical and or expert committees to execute various aspects of its assignment related to the industry in Africa with a view to enhancing its growth and development including organizing various meetings for this purpose.
Membership of the committee:

  • Chairman, being Vice- Chairman of oversight committee
  • Vice Chairman
  • 7—9 other members, 3 of which must be members of the oversight committee.

Public Private Partnership (PPP) Committee

Would be responsible for the smooth engagement of the Digital Communications Industry in Africa with relevant Government Agencies/ regulatory bodies concerned with the setting up and or operations of the Digital Communications industry in Africa. It will ensure continued the good relationship of members of the Digital Communications industry committee and various public agencies concerned with regulation and or operations of the industry in Africa. It would ensure the creation and operation of appropriate platforms for promoting good understanding between the industry members and those of the relevant publics in Africa.
Membership of the Committee:

  • Chairman, being a Vice-Chairman of the oversight committee.
  • Vice-Chairman
  • 7 - 9 other members, 3 of which must be members of the oversight committee.


Nominations are invited for membership of the following committees.

  • Membership of the Global Advisory Committee for the Digital Industry Committee.
  • Membership of Digital Industry oversight committee.
  • Membership of the Digital Communications Technical committee.
  • Membership of Digital Communications industry PPP committee.


Digital Communication Industry in Africa Events