Links, trade and AI: An analysis of the informal knowledge network in Sub-Saharan Africa

In this work, we analyse the informal networking activity with tech and business content in Sub-Saharan Africa. We investigate its spatial distribution, how the extrovertedness of local communities correlates with international trade data and how the region’s technologically specialised communities compare to those of the European Union (EU). We show that networking activity occurs almost exclusively in the urban, most populous cities. Moreover, contrary to the previous work, we find a strong and statistically important correlation between the number of international links a country’s communities have and the total export value of its trade in services. Finally, we show that even though Sub-Saharan Africa communities in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have grown significantly over time, the gap with the European Union is widening.

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