AFRICA’s potential for technological progress is strongly linked to its investment in semiconductor research and production. With over 15% of the world’s population and a significant portion of the globe’s natural resources present in Africa, semiconductors are vital to the functioning of various electronic devices, from smartphones to sophisticated machinery. However, the absence of a functional semiconductor industry has prevented Africa from producing its electronics, making it a consumer of finished products from other parts of the world. The significance of semiconductors is further emphasised by the increasing emphasis placed on them globally, particularly in the United States. As such, it is essential for Africa to invest massively in semiconductor manufacturing to become a producer of low, medium, and high-end products, like other parts of the world. This investment will not only allow Africa to become self-sufficient but also support its economic development and growth.

Silicon is the primary raw material utilised in the semiconductor industry and Africa possesses a substantial amount of it. The continent has vast reserves of silica sand and quartz, which are the primary sources of silicon. South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco are among the countries with significant resources of silicon. However, Africa’s production and usage of silicon are still relatively low compared to other regions of the world. This underutilization of the continent’s resources limits its potential and stunts its economic growth. Investing in the semiconductor industry is expensive, and research in this field can be costly. However, the benefits of investing in this industry significantly outweigh the costs. One of the key benefits of investing in the industry is that it will create thousands, if not millions, of high-end jobs for experts in the field, such as researchers, engineers, professors, and students. Moreover, investment in the industry will create millions more indirect jobs, leading to the growth of related industries.

In addition to the benefits of job creation, investing in the semiconductor industry will allow Africa to become more innovative and competitive. By producing its electronics, Africa will have greater control over its technological advancement while reducing her reliance on other countries and continents. This will lead to the development of a robust ecosystem of innovation and development, with African researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs creating new products and solutions for the continent’s challenges. In conclusion, Africa’s progress in the field of technology is inextricably linked to its investment in the semiconductor industry. With a significant proportion of the world’s population and abundant natural resources, Africa has the potential to become a leading producer of electronic devices. However, the continent must leverage its silicon resources, invest in research and development, and create an ecosystem of innovation to achieve this goal. With the right investment and commitment from political and business leaders, Africa can positively transform into a group of developed countries, creating hundreds of thousands of high-end jobs in industry and academia while also reducing its reliance on other parts of the world. The time to invest in this industry is NOW!!! Africa must seize this opportunity to mine the “gold” that lies within its borders.

Odetoran is a graduate research assistant and scholar, Department of Nanoengineering, Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, North Carolina A&T State University.



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