bird TenX: Top 10 African Trends & Developments to Watch in 2024

bird TenX: Top 10 African Trends & Developments to Watch in 2024

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#technology
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There are 54 countries and over 1.4 billion people in Africa, which means there’s a lot happening at any given time - and a great deal more, over 365 days. Here are the 10 topics and themes that we think will play a key role in shifting the focus away from destructive narratives and onto progress and innovation, around the continent in 2024.

Okwi Okoh, bird story agency


1. Getting Together Online

The International Trade Administration has released projections that Africa's e-commerce market will grow to over half a billion users over the next year. The continent’s population is estimated at 1.3 billion people. Industry leaders like the CEO of Standard Chartered Africa and Middle East, Sunil Kaushal, agree. They say further investment in digital technology could help the 54 member states in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement leapfrog some of the infrastructural and policy barriers to integrated regional business growth. 


2. Are We Changing Too

African solutions were showcased at the Africa Climate Summit and Cop 28 last year. While some of the innovation is aimed at raising awareness, initiatives around agricultural production, renewable energy, climate action policy and legislation, and green finance will take root and start to become the “new normal” in 2024. So look out for fewer recycled plastic waste gift items and more e-mobility infrastructure investments as governments offer tax incentives to manufacturers and service providers.


3. It’s About “How” Now, Not “When”

Artificial intelligence is no longer confined to deep tech research and development or churn from social media platforms. While debate rages over ethical use and regulation, African researchers and entrepreneurs are part of a global push to bring AI-powered tools to healthcare, education, finance, and agriculture in 2024. Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghana’s vice-president is a former economist and banker. He expects AI spending in Africa and the Middle East to grow from about US$3 billion to US$6 billion over the next two years. 


4. Money Matters

Mobile money may be old news in Africa, but Digital Financial Inclusion (DFI) remains a top priority for policymakers and enterprises in 2024. The Association of African Central Banks (AACB), for one, is working to increase mobile wallet usage to provide last-mile financial services like payments, microloans, insurance, and savings. This commitment is further evidenced by the phenomenal 270% growth (and 26 publicly-announced acquisitions) in Africa's fintech industry over the past two years, when compared to the 2019-2021 period, according to data from Tekedia.


5. The Hits Keep Coming

There are over 60 official musical genres in Africa. While most were previously unknown outside of their home base and diaspora communities, technology has brought global recognition and commercial success in recent years. Afrobeats and Ampiano are leading the charge, fuelled by digital marketing and distribution. Research firm Statista predicts the continent’s music streaming industry alone will be worth US$410.07 million in 2024. Experts also say musicians and labels alike will continue to focus on genre fusion and international collaborations backed by social media, streaming, and AI for sustainable growth.


6. Youth Take the Wheel

According to the African Union, 400 million of Africa’s estimated 1.4 billion people are between the ages of 15-35. Young Africans are seen as key to driving economic, social, and political development by the continent’s public and private sectors. Their efforts to tackle unemployment and harness innovation for GDP growth in 2024, will see the world’s youngest continent leverage this demographic for leadership and consumption of goods and services.


7. Storytelling Redefined

African storytellers will dive deeper into the use of digital tools to weave narratives in new ways this year. Both CGAfrica and imarc put the value of the market at over US$ 10 billion per annum in 2024, including commercial, entertainment, education and other sectors. Generative AI, virtual reality (VR), the availability of young talent, and the dominance of social media and streaming will continue to push thematic diversity, commercial growth, and global reach. 


8. Food Revolution on the Menu

Africa’s food and agribusiness will be worth US$1 trillion by 2030, according to African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. Restauranteers and food delivery companies are cashing in. TechCabal reported last month that the industry hit $2.13 billion in 2023 and is predicted to grow to $3.29 billion in revenue by 2025. Those numbers are tasty enough for culinary investors across the continent to create menus based on local ingredients, boosting the continent's food culture. An early high note is the return of celebrity chef and international restauranteur Marcus Samuelsson to his birthplace in January 2024 to set up a fusion restaurant in Addis Ababa.


9. Art Scene Explodes

bird story agency reported last year that Africa's fine art market is emerging from obscurity, fueled by a surge of demand from international and, increasingly, local collectors. According to the 2023 Africa Wealth Report, published by Henley & Partners with New World Wealth, the continent's fine art market was valued at just over US$1.8 billion in early 2023. African artists are set to attract even greater attention this year with digital marketing, the return of events and exhibitions post-pandemic, and the growing popularity of art as an investment haven due to ongoing economic turbulence.


10. Sports Unleash Potential

2024 is already lining up to be an exciting year for African sports fans, with AFCON (African Cup of Nations) kicking off on January 14, African basketball players dominating at the NBA, and the impressive line-up of athletes training to break records or climb podiums this year. The value of the continent's sports industry is growing by leaps and bounds, from prize money to sponsorships. In just one indication that the continent is starting to see the value of sports, CAF (Confederation of African Football) recently announced that the AFCON prize money will be boosted to provide the winners with a US$7 million purse and the runners-up with US$4 million.  


*bird's TenX is brought to you by bird story agency, a specialist news agency and project of Africa No Filter designed to change the narrative on Africa.*

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