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What Does Technology Leapfrogging Really Mean for Africa?

Bhaskar Chakravorti discusses IBGC's "African Leapfrog Index" with CIO.

The idea that African countries can leapfrog technologies is not new. Industry leaders, government officials and market analyst have all pointed to Africa's potential, with mobile technology being a prime example. As COVID-19 prompts a re-examination of digital transformation and a need to kickstart economies impacted by lockdowns and changes in consumer behaviour, could Africa's agility and approach to innovation help the continent adapt to so-called "new normal"?

The mobile revolution that swept the continent and resulted in "more Africans owning phones than having access to water or toilets," according to Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at The Fletcher School, has been a driving force for digital transformation and investment on the continent, as well as a prime example of technological leapfrogging. Africans are more likely to pay for goods via mobile phone payment than people in other regions.

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