Investments by government and government-aided organisations, contact centre service providers and the primary sector are stimulating growth in the African business telephony market. Multinational aid and international loans in particular have helped governments finance secondary and tertiary sectors in the continent, creating a market for business telephony.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the African business telephony market earned revenues of €158,3-million in 2005 and expects this to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12,3% to reach €345,3-million in 2012.
Economic progress in certain countries due to a favourable petroleum and commodities market has helped the continent’s GDP to grow at an average of 5,7% in 2006, as reported by the UN’s economic commission for Africa.
The global demand for key African export commodities, especially crude oil, metals and minerals, has helped several economies in Africa become net exporters. A share of this excess capital is being invested into infrastructure and private sector projects.
“The growth of the economy is primarily the result of improvement in the macro economic management of many countries,” notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Shomik Banerjee. “This has created new investment opportunities and a growing market to be tapped into by business telephony vendors.”
However, unsafe business conditions, corruption, high tariff barriers and hostile regulations can affect market growth. These are further compounded by poor infrastructure, the need for structural reforms and a limited pool of skilled labour.
African leaders need to focus on creating an environment conducive to business – a fact stressed upon by business executives during the recent discussions on the sidelines of the World Economic Forums.
Despite present challenges, Africa holds great promise in the future. Fundamental changes are taking place in the market dynamics including the initiation of public-private partnership projects in the social sector. Deregulation in the telecommunications market and the entry of private participants is also creating a competitive environment offering choice to consumers in addition to increased value for the money.
The African business telephony market will continue to expand with several opportunities arising from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“The event will create unique business opportunities in the travel and tourism, retail, food and banking space,” notes Banjerjee. “Africa will not only invest in building stadiums, road and rail networks, but also in improving communications.”