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The Next Global Superpowers: Why Africa Is Rising

<b>The Next Global Superpowers: Why Africa Is Rising</b>Get ready for a population and economic boom from Africa's largest countries, especially Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt.
Africa possesses a young and entrepreneurial population, territories that are transforming quickly with growing regions and rapid urbanization, considerable natural resources, dynamic economies, rich ecosystems and a supportive diaspora. In 2018, African startups raised a record $725.6 million across 458 deals, the 2018 venture investment report by WeeTracker shows.  "There is an evolving picture of professionalization and increasing sophistication taking place.", says Malcolm Pannel, sub-Saharan chief of US consulting firm Korn Ferry SA. As Africa appears to be the world's fastest-growing continent for software developers, the World Economic Forum foresees strong demand for workers who can combine digital and STEM skills with more traditional knowledge in Africa. Microsoft is investing over $100 million to open its first development centers on the continent and employ 100 full-time African developers this year and grow its developer pool to 500 by 2023. In GitHub's latest annual State of the Octoverse report, developers from Africa created 40% more open source repositories on the software engineering marketplace over the past year. Andela is a developer training and outsourcing company which was launched in 2014 with the goal of recruiting, training and outsourcing developers to companies in the United States in need of software engineering. After starting the year with a $100 million Series D funding round led by former US Vice President Al Gore, the developer training and outsourcing company let go off around 400 developers in Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. There are also growing signs that tech hubs on the continent are starting to specialize and expand beyond individual ecosystems: in February, Co-Creation Hub --CcHUB --one of the Nigeria's pioneer innovation hubs, launched a design hub in Kigali, Rwanda. In September, CcHUB also acquired iHub, a leading Kenyan tech hub. Jumia is an online marketplace in Africa for electronics, and fashion among others. The company is also a logistics service, which enables the shipment and delivery of packages from sellers to consumers, and a payment service, which facilitates transactions among participants active and Jumia's platform in selected markets. Jumia was launched in Lagos, Nigeria in 2012 and expanded to five other countries: Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Kenya and South Africa. In 2014, the company launched offices in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Cameroon, Algeria and Tunisia, and by 2018 it was present in 14 African countries. In Egypt, Jumia has been trying to categorize itself as one of the leading e-commerce websites. In April 2019, Jumia went public on the New York Stock Exchange and raised $196 million in net proceeds. In Kenya, M-Pesa mobile money service has been a runaway success by allowing users to pay bills, and each other, through mobile phones or an agent network, whether or not they have bank accounts. Since launching in 2007, the service has impacted local access to financial products and services: today, financial inclusion in Kenya stands at 83%—up from 27% in 2006. Nigerian online payment processing company Paystack helps businesses in Africa get paid by anyone, anywhere in the world. In 2018, Paystack, with ambitions to become the Stripe of Africa, raised $8M from Visa, Tencent and Stripe itself. After joining forces with Norway-based browser provider Opera Limited, which Chinese billionaire Yahui Zhou acquired in 2016, the Nigerian mobile-based payment and services platform OPay attracted several Chinese investors in June and November. The two successive funding rounds raised $170 million. Interswitch is a Nigerian digital payments company, which provides access to 17,000 Nigerian ATMs and processes over 500 million transactions per month. Interswitch became a member of Africa's unicorn club -- a designation reserved for start-ups with a valuation of $1 billion -- in November 2019 after US corporation Visa invested $200 million in the company. It's expected to go public on the London Stock Exchange in early 2020 and continue to expand its footprint on the continent. Nigeria could become a global superpower in a few decades. It already has the continent's biggest economy, a huge military budget and a fair record of regional engagement. Population wise, Nigeria will be the fourth largest country in the world after India, China and the United States by 2040. Despite a very repressive dictatorship, Rwanda recently launched Africa's first electronic cross-border trade platform with the help of Alibaba Group's Electronic World Trade Platform to engage small businesses across the continent. Kigali Innovation City is poised to become Africa's Silicon Valley and have a Pan-African human and economic development impact to step up the continent's economic transformation. With a GDP growth (around 10%) that outflanks China's, Ethiopia has Africa's fastest growing economy and is Africa's second most populous country. However, Ethiopia faces the challenge of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs every year just to keep up with its population growth. Egypt is a Next Eleven (N-11) country, a nation of 80 million people. Its economy is around $235 billion. It has vast potential of becoming one of the world's largest economies in the 21st century and is likely to be instrumental for much of North Africa.


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