IT a growth industry in Africa, says UN’s Dr Lopes

IT a growth industry in AfricaDr Carlos Lopes says a growing class of domestic consumers is one of the keys to the growth of the IT sector. (Image source: International Labour Organisation/ Flickr)The executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr Carlos Lopes, has spoken about the growing importance of the continent’s IT sector

Speaking at an event at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House on the 10 March, Dr Lopes said that economic growth and diversification in Africa will make the communications and electronics industries increasingly important.

“The perception continues to be to link countries with the fate of extracting industries,” said Dr Lopes, “but diversification has been happening so fast that a country like Tanzania has 20 per cent of its GDP coming from the IT sector.”

He posited that this was “because of the value that has been brought by huge investments in cell phone distribution and broadband penetration.”

Investment was likely to continue, he added, fuelled by the growth of the domestic consumer market and the increasing attractiveness of Africa to foreign investors.

“A growing class of new consumers have brought about a rise in domestic demand, spurring increased public spending and private investment,” Dr Lopes said.

He added that Africa was one of the most attractive global regions to invest, pointing out, “There are eight countries in Africa that are ahead of China in terms of the Ease of Doing Business Index, there are 11 that are ahead of Brazil and there are 17 that are

ahead of India.”

Dr Carlos Lopes is an economist from Guinea-Bissau holding the rank of United Nations under-secretary general, and has more than 24 years of senior leadership experience with the UN.

He is also a member of several African academic networks, and has been the author or editor of 22 books.

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