The KINGS of Africa’s Digital Economy


The fast-changing digital economy presents enormous prospects for the emerging economies of Africa. In Africa, the digital economy has emerged as an unstoppable giant that is growing at an unprecedented pace. Supporting this assertion, innovation commentators have conveniently argued that in the twenty-first century, we can ground the conditions for economic growth less on the accumulation of things and more on the flow of information, less on geographic centrality and more on electronic connectivity, and less on expanding consumption of scarce resources and more on intelligent management.

The twentieth century saw the economic rise of Asia through the significant economic rise of the “Asian Tiger” countries (Kojima 2000; UNCTAD 1996). But the twenty-first century has been dubbed the African century (Wikipedia 2016). Tech Crunch, renowned technology media company, recently published an article entitled “The Future Is African” (Nash 2015), which aptly described how Africa is unleashing innovation by combining mobile and Web technology to lead the world in the twenty-first century – the KINGS countries are leading this wave.

The KINGS of Africa’s Digital Economy describes the key developments in digital innovation in the five innovation-leading countries—Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa—referred to as the KINGS. The paper provides evidence to support the argument that the KINGS’ economies have the potential to bring forth Africa’s next zebracorn businesses.