Two of South Africa’s big cities are leading Africa’s charge in embracing transformational technologies.
HARARE -  Two of South Africa’s big cities are leading Africa’s charge in embracing transformational technologies, which analysts at global IT research firm, Gartner, believe will spur spending on technology across the continent.

According to Gartner, Cape Town is leading the charge through heavy investment in wireless communications. This is expected to boost the creation of an entrepreneurial base apart from boosting financial, manufacturing and tourism service industries.

“Cape Town is investing heavily in wireless communications not just as a growth engine for the city’s financial, manufacturing and tourism industries, but also to create new jobs and build an entrepreneurial base for people,” noted Gartner  this week.

Johannesburg on the other hand, is seen as a front runner to “green strategies”, which are seen propelling sustainable urban growth. Away from South Africa, Sierra Leone “is planning to use data visualization systems to collect and manage data through blockchain technology”.

South Africa has already been projected to spend a total R303.46 billion on IT this year, with software spending likely to reach R32bn in 2019, representing an 11.4 percent increase on the previous year.

"Cloud computing is a new reality in South Africa. South African organisations are consuming significant amounts of cloud services, including software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service," Gartner said recently in a separate study.

Meanwhile, “the impact of a smart city framework on businesses in Africa will be driven by the ability for public and private companies to automate and deliver better service experiences” as well as by “how well citizens feel recognised in their desire to innovate their city”, noted Gartner’s vice-president for research, Bettina Tratz-Ryan.

Smart City frameworks, Internet of Things (IoT) and low earth orbit satellite systems have been identified as the three technologies that will have transformational impact on businesses in Africa in the next 10 years, according to a new study by Gartner 

"IT spending continues to rise in Africa alongside the maturity of technologies locally,” says Jeff Mann, another research expert at the firm.

African start-ups and new ventures from existing tech companies are also boosting green economies and smart city initiatives in countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria. Experts anticipate that this will further create sustainable platforms on which transformational technologies will ride and be utilised on.

Low earth orbit satellite systems are an emerging technology that tech analysts believe “is important for African countries as satellites can cover all remote or under-served geographies, providing the broadband connectivity critical to operating in remote areas” in Africa.

These platforms can also provide global broadband or narrow band voice and data network services to African regions with little or no existing terrestrial or satellite coverage.

BUSINESS REPORT