A new survey conducted by the Africa Business Panel has found Nigeria, South Africa Kenya to be Africa's fastest-expanding ICT markets, targeted by the international telecom investors as among the world's last growth frontiers.
Despite a decade of political instability and economic sanctions that scared away international telecom investors, Zimbabwe has joined Egypt, Ghana, Botswana, Uganda and Angola among the top 10 markets in the region.
Over the past three years, the Zimbabwean government has relaxed telecom investment rules, allowing operators to roll out 3G networks and removing bureaucracy in license acquisitions.
Nigeria is Africa's largest telecom market in terms of investment and subscriptions, followed by South Africa and Kenya. Two weeks ago, Kenya became the first Africa country to implement an e-governance system, launching open-data websites. The Kenyan government is also funding the development of innovative Web and mobile applications in order to stimulate ICT innovation.
"By supporting entrepreneurs with the funds they need to successfully take their products to the market, the grant hopes to grow the number of relevant local Web and mobile applications available to Kenyans," Kaburo Kobia, Kenyan ICT Board project manager for local digital content, said last week.
The report said that all African economies are showing year-on-year growth, with foreign ICT investors seeing Africa as the last frontier for attractive investment opportunities.
According to the report, worldwide survey results consistently indicate that investors expect more than half of the 10 fastest economies in the world in 2011 to be in Africa.
Several international telecom companies are moving to invest in Africa in order to cushion the impact of a stagnating market in Europe. However, getting new operating licenses in Africa still remains a pipe dream for some in investors. Many international telecom companies investing in Africa mobile markets either buy financially struggling incumbent operators or go into partnership with the operators. As a result, the region's telecom sector is becoming highly competitive and less innovative companies are reporting heavy financial loses.
Despite all this, Africa still remains a lucrative investment destination for telecom operators wanting to expand their geographical footprint.
South Africa has always been known as having one of the top innovative environments in Africa. The country is stable both politically and financially, thereby making it the first investment destination for foreign partners seeking low-risk environments, according to Caesar Onejeme, a business development officials at Ghana-based Fleet Technologies.
The Pan African Business Panel has published a monthly African Business Confidence Index since January 2011. The index results for Africa based on surveys of 800 business professionals from more than 30 countries in the region consistently show growth. The calculations are based on the purchase management index methodology used globally.
The Africa Business Panel is a joint initiative of the Africa Business Community, a network of African business professionals, and NarrowMinds, a creator of online market research and loyalty programs.
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