Date: August 23, 2021
Source: The Business Times
Africa is by no means a new market for Singapore. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Singapore’s investments into Africa rose from US$17 billion to US$20 billion from 2015 to 2019, making Singapore one of the top 10 investors in Africa.
According to Tan Soon Kim, assistant chief executive officer, global markets, Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the number of internationalisation projects in Africa supported by the agency grew by almost 20 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, from 26 to 31 projects. These projects were in consumer goods, oil and gas, digital solutions, and urban solutions.
“There have been significant changes to the African economy which is leading to a broader profile of Singapore companies venturing into the continent for the first time,” says Mr Tan.
In particular, digitalisation efforts have accelerated, partly because of Covid-19, but mainly because of the mass penetration of mobile technology.
“This presents new opportunities in the continent as mobile-enabled platforms across Africa have disrupted traditional value chains and removed barriers to entry for new players in fintech, edtech, healthtech, and smart urban solutions,” he says.
Notably, a number of companies and startups are making their move into Africa for the first time.
For the first half of 2021, nearly all of the 16 projects supported by ESG’s Overseas Centres in Africa were first time entrants to the continent, and close to half were for tech projects.
For example, Singapore-based big data and AI startup Crayon Data partnered a South African system integrator early this year to cross sell their personalisation engines to banks and telecommunication providers across the region.
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