Africa is at a cusp of realising its true growth potential, with innovation and technology acting as the catalyst to achieving this goal, says analyst group Frost & Sullivan.

Globally, new technologies are expected to create new market opportunities to the tune of $1,9-trillion over the next five years, and organisations leveraging new business models and disruption will be at a competitive advantage when charting their growth strategy throughout Africa.

“Innovation is fundamental for any organisation to remain relevant with the fast paced and ever-changing needs of its customers,” states Frost & Sullivan’s operations manager for Africa practice, Mani James. “In Africa, we have started to see how cutting-edge technologies are shaping and transforming a number of industries.”

Healthcare is an area that has shown tremendous development over the last decade with the full convergence of ICT and traditional health services almost complete, making the two industries inseparable.

“While there has been rapid expansion in the penetration and use of mobile communication devices in Africa, the growth of health applications has still been relatively slow,” says Health Care programme manager for Africa, Dr Etienne van Wyk.

“Infrastructure deficits and costs limit the scope for leveraging technology to improve health outcomes, but Frost & Sullivan has certainly noted mounting traction in the market with more and more stakeholders looking to develop viable and sustainable business models to ensure future growth. With mobile penetration rates of over 100% in many African countries, this is certainly the time to get involved.”

The rapid rate of urbanisation and population growth throughout Africa is also forcing organisations to revisit their country- and city-based supply chain strategies, thereby becoming more innovative.

“With an estimated total of $174-billion in ongoing and planned investment in transportation infrastructure projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa, organisations and governments are re-evaluating their business models to effectively serve their customers,” confirms James.

“We are also seeing rapid improvements and development in areas such as high-speed rail – for example the Gautrain in Gauteng Province – as well as the public transport systems – for example the Rapid Bus Transport (RBT) system in the Western Cape.”

Frost & Sullivan has identified 50 promising innovation technologies that have the greatest ability to disrupt, collapse and transform the world and business over the next six to 18 months and these will be revealed at its GIL 2014: Africa The Global Community of Growth, Innovation and Leadership in Cape Town next week.