The latest technology firm to list on the New York Stock Exchange is not from Silicon Valley but from Africa. Jumia, an e-commerce platform with over 4 million customers in 14 African countries, saw its shares jump by around 70% on its NYSE debut day on April 12th. That put the company’s market capitalization at close to $2 billion, cementing its status as Africa’s first technology unicorn.

Jumia’s successful NYSE listing is a timely reminder of Africa’s rapid digitization — a trend that has been hidden from the view of many global investors and executives. Africa already has 122 million active users of mobile financial services, more than half the global total. Its number of smartphone connections is forecast to double from 315 million in 2015 to 636 million in 2022 — twice the projected number in North America. Over the same period, mobile data traffic across Africa is expected to increase sevenfold.

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