Overcoming the skills and resources challenges that businesses in the Democratic Republic of Congo face is tough. But, the country’s latching on to digital, and it needs support from specialists like you.
Despite its shortage of skills and resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo represents a solid market for tech-businesses and entrepreneurs looking to capitalise on the country’s growing demand for connectivity and digital solutions.
Smartphones and personal computers are being used more actively by the country’s citizens, and in the near future they’ll want to access the internet to shop, interact, browse and quench their thirst for knowledge like the market you’re already familiar with in South Africa.
To succeed, though, you’ll need to conduct an intricate investigation into the market. Are your solutions really going to meet the needs of the DRC? Will you need to invest in infrastructure, or can you partner with someone in the country? What about ongoing training and development of employees?
Related: Some things to know when taking your business to the DRC
The World Bank Group and CTIC Dakar launched Jambar Tech Lab, a business acceleration programme to assist tech start-ups to commercialise and scale innovative digital products. This enterprise is designed to improve competitiveness, attract investment, as well as create jobs within the digital technology landscape.
Ganesh Rasagam, manager for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice says: “The digital economy plays a key role in many African countries, as part of the broader services sector that drives more than half of the economic growth on the continent.” The Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) estimates that mobile technologies should generate 4.5 million jobs and revenues north of USD210 billion by 2020.
Economic growth is happening
The digital technologies industry is looking to boom, as DRC’s economic growth has averaged 7.7% over the last five years. This percentage should rise to 8%, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
The key areas that are enhancing growth within this region are availability of natural resources, arable land, water and growing food demand, along with a fast-growing youthful population and an increasing educated middle-class population.
Additionally, further enhancing growth in the DRC are expanding exports markets, new trading partners with an increasing focus on infrastructure development, as well as competitive returns on investment.
Certain skillsets are needed
Despite the booming economy, numerous DRC digital entrepreneurs still lack the skills and resources needed to accelerate their business’ development. They are looking to either enter a larger market or attract capital infusions from early-stage investors by partnering with successful entrepreneurs or businesses.
Jambar Tech Lab is solving this challenge by offering a six-month programme to enhance the capacity of local companies to detect market opportunities, develop and test products and services, as well as have access to mentors and financing. This seems like an ideal point of departure for you as an investor, as Jambar has already screened those entering their accelerator programme.
Related: DRC offers SA business big opportunities
Accelerator programmes to leverage
2000 entrepreneurs and 80 companies have been established by CTIC Dakar. The cumulative revenue turnover of these companies is USD6 million with a 41% average annual revenue growth. Several more accelerator programmes are starting up too, with the World Bank Group launching the Pan-African Acceleration Programme.
Investment opportunities within DRC’s digital technology sector are about to experience expansion. Native DRC digital entrepreneurs are already starting to make waves, but they need your help in the form of investment and expertise. So, if you invest on the ground floor of one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it could create solid returns, as well as enable long-term growth.
- DRC’s economic growth has averaged 7.7% over the last five years with it expected to rise to 8%, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
- Numerous DRC digital entrepreneurs still lack the skills and resources needed to accelerate their business developments.
- 2000 entrepreneurs and 80 companies have been established by CTIC Dakar’s accelerator programme. The cumulative revenue turnover of these companies is USD6 million with a 41% average annual revenue growth.