Today, the African continent is experiencing rapid development, driven by an entrepreneurial dynamic and a clearly marked desire to be part of the general movement which sees the emergence of new economic forces. The major reason for this shift is clearly identified: despite the volatility of commodity prices, crises, climate change, difficulties in diversifying traditionally exporting economies, it is truly the development of the digital sector which, coupled with the growth of foreign direct investment has been one of the main drivers of African growth over the past decade. According to the 2018 GSMA report on the African digital economy, mobile technologies contributed 7.1% of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa, or $ 110 billion. The ecosystem of the mobile economy supported in 2017 nearly 3 million jobs, and contributed to the financing of the public sector with up to 14 billion dollars .
Engine of growth
With a rate of 44% unique subscription to mobile services, including a third of smartphones, the digital equation in Africa has completely transformed in a few years. The greater diffusion of smartphones allows the appearance of more services, access to mobile payments, continuous information, data exchanges constantly increasing, creating as many opportunities for new mobile applications and l extension of African digital ecosystems.
Digital technology has the capacity to be one of the main engines of growth and business creation in the coming decades in Africa. The possibilities offered by remote services are already revolutionizing the daily life of societies on the continent. The best known are the dematerialized payment applications, which open up access to populations suffering from a transport infrastructure deficit, which can thus see their professional activities grow with customers and suppliers at a distance.
But, more importantly, digital is helping to prepare for the future: with the increasing penetration of the internet, the whole knowledge economy is within the reach of populations. An internet connection now makes it possible to access distance learning from the best universities, and makes possible the transfer of knowledge which will be key to the economic development of tomorrow. Telemedicine makes access to diagnostics easier, even for isolated populations, farmers will soon be able to have all the parameters useful for their activity, weather, agricultural production prices and modern techniques at hand. And this applies to all industries needed to strengthen African economies.
In this context of a continent's digital revolution, taking into account social and sustainable responsibility is our main challenge. For example, in the field of smart cities, Huawei has the experience and the ability to build effective ICT infrastructures that are game-changing and place users and their environment at the heart of the equation. We attach great importance to training local talent and, together with governments, we support universities, businesses and educational stakeholders to create a talent ecosystem.
High performance computing solutions
In 2018 , we launched a series of talent development programs in North Africa and in sub-Saharan Africa thanks to the Huawei Network Institute which supports universities in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and in Senegal. Thousands of students are offered learning, training and internship opportunities in our company or with our partners. In the future, we will further strengthen our cooperation with governments, universities and companies to better connect African talents to global value chains and facilitate their deployment beyond the continent.
And this is starting to bear fruit: Huawei is currently deploying high performance computing (HPC) solutions in Morocco and in the Egyptian library in Alexandria. In Algeria, we have built the largest industrial private cloud in the country. In Côte d'Ivoire and Cape Verde, we are partners with governments in their vision of smart cities and sustainable city solutions.
Thus, being connected becomes a fundamental right for people. As such, the development of networks will allow them to benefit from the digital dividend in the education sector, access to funding or healthcare. In Africa in particular, the digital economy is becoming a new structuring model, using new technologies as a lever for social progress, the modernization of a state or the growth of a country.
But there is enormous room for improvement: according to a study by Huawei carried out on more than a hundred countries in the world, it is estimated that an additional level of investment of 16 to 20% in the sector of new technologies directly induces an additional point of growth for the country.  From 2021 in Africa in 2021
Beyond the direct advantages linked to technological catch-up, there is a second ripple effect, or so to speak, catch-up. Indeed, the African continent is benefiting from new technological advances faster and faster, and soon in real time. Thanks to new digital players, who now offer much more affordable terminals and networks, the speed of adoption of new technologies is destined to decrease substantially. Today, African mobile networks are preparing their transition to 3G, while industrialized countries are already inventing 5G. Starting in 2021, the first 5G services should be launched on the continent .
This means more exchanges, more complex transmission systems and an ability to imagine the services that will be the norm tomorrow. Here is the role of an actor like Huawei in Africa: supporting companies in production, transport, financing and access to energy to improve productivity, operational yields while controlling costs.
L Africa is accelerating and the pace of innovation is no longer waiting. Over the next few years, the continent could become one of the emerging centers of global digital innovation.