Technology is growing at a very fast pace across the globe with the Americans, Europeans, and Asians being at the forefront of it all. Africa is comparatively lagging behind and is highly dependent on the aforementioned regions on technology. However, the continent is not willing to remain stagnant forever and some of the countries in Africa are at the forefront of technological advancement.
In coming up with this final list of the most technologically advanced countries in Africa, AnswersAfrica examined each of the 54 African countries and matched them up using several ranking factors, including Intensity of research and development, productivity and variability of technological products, high-tech density such as the proportion of high-tech public companies in the field of advanced engineering, energy, defense, chemical, hardware and software, internet availability, computer, and mobile phone software & services. Also, researcher concentration compared to the rest of the population, the manufacturing capability of each country, education levels, and of course raw talent were also considered. These following countries have shown significant technological advancement based on the factors mentioned above.
Population: 45,872,198 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
History might remember Uganda for a whole different reason but the country is today ranked among the top countries in Africa with advancing technology. In the early 2000s, Uganda was listed as one of three African countries with advanced technological and innovation capabilities in Africa in a study conducted by Martin Prosperity Institute of the US. In the report, the East African country is second to South Africa and followed by Madagascar.
Across the globe, Uganda is among the 82 countries of the world that has advanced technology and innovation capabilities. The country has continued to see considerable advances in science and technology over the years which benefit key sectors and institutions. According to the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the country ranks 102 with a score of 25.60 and is the 9th sub-Saharan African country on the list.
Population: 2,545,008 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
Despite having an economy that is closely tied to South Africa due to its history, Namibia has not done as well as South Africa in regards to technological advancement. In 2013, Bloomberg named the country as the top emerging market economy in Africa.
A testament to the fact that Namibia pays close attention to the tech world is Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) creating an inclusive and collaborative local tech innovation Hub that was fully funded from November 2017 to October 2019. This advancement in technology for the country and other technological growth in other institutions such as agriculture and education have won Nambia a place on this list. Based on the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the country is placed number 101 with a score of 25.85 and is the 8th sub-Saharan African country on the list.
8. United Republic of Tanzania
Population: 59,888,085 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
Tanzania has experienced lots of growth, especially in its economy in recent times. From 2009 to 2013, the country’s per capita GDP grew to an average of 3.5 per year. The country weathered the Great Recession that began in 2008 relatively well. In 2020, World Bank announced the rise of the Tanzanian economy from low-income to lower-middle-income status. This growth has also steeped into the country’s science and technology sector over the years.
In regards to science and technology, the country is actively working towards a Vision 2025 plan which will employ science and technology to transform the economy into a strong, resilient, and competitive one. According to the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the country ranks 97th with a score of 26.63 and is the 7th sub-Saharan African country on the list.
Population: 16,783, 714 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
Senegal might be one of the African countries classified as a heavily indebted or poor country but there is no doubt that its story is fast changing. The country has one of the best-developed tourist industries in Africa and it achieved full internet connectivity in 1996 which created a mini-boom in its information technology-based services. According to the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the country ranks 96th overall with a score of 26.83 and is the 6th sub-Saharan African country on the list.
Population: 12,981,108 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
Rwanda is a country that was ravaged by civil war and genocide in the past. Right now, however, it is aiming to become a regional hub for African information technology. In this regard, the country was one of the first to launch the 4G LTE broadband network which provided new opportunities to deliver better services across the country. Rwanda is further engaging rapidly with all kinds of technology at once and perhaps we’d soon be able to see mind-blowing inventions. According to the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley ranks 94th with a score of 27.38 and is the 5th sub-Saharan African country on the list.
Population: 2,355,873 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
Botswana is one of the most stable and successful economies in the whole of Africa. Technology is fast becoming a measure of international development and Botswana is not willing to be left behind. The country’s Innovation Hub which is backed by the government is designed to grow start-ups, global corporations, research, and health organizations under one massive green roof to facilitate the growth of technology in the country. Botswana, therefore, is not left out on the list of the most technologically advanced countries in Africa. According to the 2019 Global Innovation Index, it ranks 93rd with a score of 27.43 and is the 4th sub-Saharan African country on the list.
Population: 102,506,702 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
It is said that civilization started in Egypt and so the North African country has for long been associated with inventions and innovations; from the pyramids to the use of the calendar and written language. Today, Egypt continues to spearhead science and technology in Africa. The country has some of the best universities on the continent that support development in technology. Egypt has gone this far because the government embraces technology with an attitude spread across all industries. Despite the civil unrest the country experienced in the 2010s, Egypt is still a technological force to reckon with and is one of the most technologically advanced countries in Africa. According to the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the country ranks 92nd with a score of 27.47.
Population: 1,271,952 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the south-east coast of Africa. World Bank classifies its economy as high-income and the country has one of the most competitive and developed economies in Africa. Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy, economic, and political freedom which has encouraged the increase in investment in innovation and technology.
The country’s ICT sector notably contributed 5.7% of the country’s 2016 GDP. It has since been able to offer participants in international competitions led by cyberstorm.mu. They also organized the 2016/2017 Google Code-in with 2 finalists and 1 winner. They participated in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) hackathon working on SSH, TLS 1.3, and HTTP 451. The African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) has its headquarters in Mauritius.
According to the 2019 Global Innovation Index, Mauritius ranks 82nd with a score of 30.61 and is the third sub-Saharan African country on the list.
Population: 53,877,483 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
Kenya is definitely among the top African countries to be envied when it comes to technology. The country is seeing a lot of startup companies with revolutionary ideas and all things being equal, this is bound to continue with a lot of start-ups that may eventually form international platforms for further technology growth. Some of Kenya’s notable inventions include charging shoe, solar-powered refrigerators that allow medications including vaccinations and valuable perishables to reach remote areas of rural cities where there is no hope of finding electricity.
According to the 2019 Global Innovation Index for 2019, Kenya comes 2nd in Sub-Saharan Africa with a score of 31.13 and is ranked 77th.
1. South Africa
Population: 59,374,892 (Aug. 2020 worldometer)
South Africa has maintained its top position as the most innovative and technologically advanced African country for several years now. According to The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR), it ranks 60th in its 2019 rankings with a score of 62.4. The 2019 Global Innovation Index also ranks the country 63rd with a score of 34.04 and it is the first from the African continent.
South Africa cannot easily be compared with most other countries across Africa as it to an extent supports human capital development which is the reason you see a lot of development in the information technology field. With South African Universities constituting most of the best universities in Africa, the country is bound to keep producing some of the most amazing inventions that are globally recognized. The list of discoveries that are worth mentioning is quite enormous; Linux Ubuntu developed by Mark Shuttleworth, Multichoice (DSTV), PayPal was co-founded by a South African, CAT scan, SASOL technology that converts coal into oil just to mention a few.
List of the Most Technologically Advanced Countries in Africa and Population
- South Africa – Population: 59,374,892
- Kenya – Population: 53,877,483
- Mauritius – Population: 1,271,952
- Egypt – Population: 102,506,702
- Botswana – Population: 2,355,873
- Rwanda – Population: 12,981,108
- Senegal – Population: 16,783, 714
- Tanzania – Population: 59,888,085
- Namibia – Population: 2,545,008
- Uganda – Population: 45,872,198
Top 10 Universities in South Africa – (Web Metrics Ranking)