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The Value of Emerging Markets

Arm's Stephen Ozoigbo discusses emerging economies and the importance of bridging the digital divide
The Arm Podcast · Emerging Markets

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Emerging economies such as South America and Africa are providing the technology industry with billions of untapped opportunities to deliver products and services to meet new and existing requirements seen in established economies.

To address this demand, Arm is working closely with its partner ecosystem to develop solutions and strategies to accelerate the education, resources and deployment of technology to progress these economies and bridge the digital divide.  

In this episode, Geof Wheelwright is joined by Stephen Ozoigbo, Senior Director of Business Development for Emerging Economies at Arm. Stephen discusses Arm’s role and approach within the markets of Africa and South America, why it’s important for the Arm and its ecosystem to focus on these areas and the opportunities and challenges the markets present.


Geof Wheelwright, Arm Viewpoints Host

Geof Wheelwright, Arm Viewpoints Host

Geof has worked as a journalist, author, broadcaster and consultant for more than three decades – and in a variety of technical content management, corporate communications and senior management roles at several technology companies. He has contributed to a broad range of media outlets – including The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Independent, Canada’s National Post, Time Magazine, Newsweek and a number of specialist technology industry sites (such as Geekwire) and Travel titles (including Travel + Leisure).

Stephen Ozoigbo, Sr Director, Business Development, Emerging Economies, Arm

Stephen Ozoigbo, Sr Director, Business Development, Emerging Economies, Arm

Stephen Ozoigbo is the Senior Director for Emerging Economies at Arm. He leads regional strategies around business development, technology, and ecosystem engagement activities across Arm’s multiple lines of business in South America and Africa. He also supports Arm’s Sustainability strategies across industry and partner networks, including government, education, and impact stakeholders within the emerging digital economies. He has spent the last decade catalysing innovation, investment and internationalisation activities within the African startup ecosystems, and he previously served as a Foreign Direct Investment Manager for the Government of Catalonia, leading bilateral technology and innovation projects between Silicon Valley and Barcelona.


Geof Wheelwright: We’re back today with another Arm viewpoints podcast. Working on this episode has been inspiring. It’s about the value of emerging markets, and we’re going to be talking about strategies for making a real difference in the lives of real people by empowering entrepreneurship in new and unique ways.

My guest is Stephen Ozoigbo, he is the Senior Director for Emerging Economies at Arm. He leads regional strategies around business development, technology, and ecosystem engagement activities across Arm’s multiple lines of business in South America and Africa. He also supports Arm’s sustainability strategies across industry and partner networks, including government, education and impact stakeholders within the emerging digital economies. He’s also spent the last decade, catalyzing innovation, investment and internationalization activities within the African start-up ecosystem. Welcome Stephen.

Stephen Ozoigbo: Thank you very much, Jeff. Glad to be here.

Geof Wheelwright: So Steven, maybe you can start us off with explaining a bit about what emerging markets are and what the current landscape is within the.

Stephen Ozoigbo: Absolutely. The definition for emerging markets of course depends on the audience, right? Sometimes you sit within audiences like the world economic forum, and it could involve a group of companies that are seen as emerging from certain industrial revolutions or emerging from certain transformations in their economies.

You’ve seen acronyms, like BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) being thrown out and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) with an “S” and other acronyms. For this conversation and from an Arm perspective, in terms of the office that I represent, the emerging markets that we’re focused on are digital economies within the continent of Africa and South America.

And these are two continents that have similar trajectories in terms of their adoption of prior industrial revolutions. Within the fourth industrial revolution, which is the one we’re currently in these two emerging economies have been very eager to engage, participate, and benefit from what is now the transformative potential of technology innovation that will definitely affect how their citizens live, how they work and how they relate to the global economy.

Geof Wheelwright: Tell me a bit more about how you see this applying in a specific sectors and industries?

Stephen Ozoigbo: The current landscape for emerging markets sees a true hunger for digital transformation. Now this is happening on a global scale, but when we come to emerging markets, there are very unique and peculiar characteristics.

One of which is of course the evolution of digital infrastructure from the technologies that are led by telecom operators, right? Telecom operators led the mobile era and they continue to do so in building and managing infrastructure across all tiers and across many of these economies the digitization that’s needed continues to drive a variety of economic activities that really add value across key verticals.

From South Africa to Ghana, to Nigeria, to Morocco in Africa, from Chile to Colombia, to Brazil, Argentina in South America, telecom operators are really taking hold of what will be the digital infrastructure that they need to drive consumption at all levels. We can’t go wrong with speaking about the public policy and government influences in these regions, right?

As many of these economies move towards the next decade of compute, there is a great need to digitize their data sovereignty, information security and national security interests, right? These are largely, largely inevitable for these governments because the policy stakeholders in these markets have to move with the times and also embrace the programs and practices that allow for security innovations within their digital infrastructure to ensure competitiveness and preserve their own competitive advantages.

There are quite a number of needs for governments to localize certain operations of the country but also do so in a secure manner. From a general population standpoint of course, the emerging markets present one of the highest human clusters of youthful, ambitious and digitally influenced citizens.

The numbers are what they are, but they form a useful bedrock for what is going to be the development and consumption of future technologies. And this is where we see a lot of promise. Developer communities across Africa and South America are growing by the day. The tools, the libraries, the resource that they require are becoming more ubiquitous and more accessible and more adaptable to these environments.

So as Arm, we have our eyes on how we can enable those in those communities to scale because we know that they will be critical to not just the demand, but also the consumption of Arm technologies in the future.

And certainly we can’t talk about these promises without recognizing the constraints. Across Africa and South America there are true infrastructure constraints there. There are obvious shortcomings and remarkable opportunities but I sit on the side of the fence that says every challenge equals an opportunity, Especially for technology.

And when we start to look at issues related to energy management, for example, emerging market stakeholders are constantly seeking sustainable ultra-low power, energy-efficient technologies that would help alleviate these infrastructure challenges that I speak about. So we find that already, you know, as an Arm value proposition, low power, energy efficient, locally relevant technology solutions help to solve for some of these infrastructure constraints. And it brings a remarkable set of opportunities for us in these markets.

Geof Wheelwright: What’s Arm’s approach and role within these emerging markets of Africa and South America?

Stephen Ozoigbo: The emerging markets provide a very, very, a unique set of opportunities for Arm, especially as we explore some of our partnerships and solutions in to the further aspects of our value chain?

Within Africa and South America, they represent test beds for a new market models for value creation. And certainly some of our ambitions, even in looking at sustainable technology solutions that we can offer to parts of the globe that were previously underserved. And we want to do this because we are sparking the world’s potential.

We’re not just sparking potential in certain parts of the world. We want to be able to touch every part of the world. And have been, this is just a more intentional strategy towards.

Geof Wheelwright: Maybe you can tell us a bit more about the model that you developed to deal with these challenges?

Stephen Ozoigbo: At Arm we are no strangers to very unique acronyms and really exciting ways of branding our projects. So when I joined the team I went with what was in front of me and I said, look, let’s call this the ENGAGE model. And it’s an acronym that, uh, falls through, you know, the E-N-G-A-G-E of Educating, Networking, Glocalizing, Amplifying, Generating and Executing, right?

Why are we educating? We’re educating because technology, policy and innovation stakeholders need to understand Arm’s unique capabilities. They need to understand our products and they need to understand our IP ecosystem. It doesn’t come easy to the untrained eye and in emerging markets we’ll have to do so rather intentionally.

We have to build networks and the network portion of the ENGAGE model is really about letting us expand our networks across defined market tiers. Let us do so with specifics on geographic industry and line of business competencies, everywhere that compute can add value. Right?

For G of course we got glocalized. It’s a portmanteau in the industry that speaks about how do you globally localize and how do you locally globalize? And in this we’re looking at how do we serve market-ready technology opportunities, and expand the partnerships within Africa and South America. How do you get an African startup to build on Arm IP and give them an opportunity to become globally relevant?

And how do you take a global Arm IP partner and localize their offering so that they can support developer ecosystems on the ground? So the glocalization strategy is one that we hold very dear to heart.

Certainly across all this, we have A for Amplify, we’ve got to be able to amplify Arm’s visibility across these countries and ecosystems.

As we amplify Arm’s visibility across these countries and ecosystems, it definitely helps us to work the G part of the strategy, which is to Generate new business opportunities across all of our lines of business and match them with locally relevant go-to-market opportunities and also generate the dialogue that is required even at a policy level for stakeholders to see each other and understand the unique opportunities that Arm brings.

The umbrella that covers all of this is our ability to execute our business in these markets responsibly. With responsibility to our stakeholders and responsibility to our planet. We need to be able to execute properly on all of our targeted sustainability programs and we do so in partnership with the Arm ecosystem, but also with a unique understanding of the local concerns.

So we remain committed to Arm’s strategies for sustainability, which is decarbonizing compute and allowing for our digital divide solutions to thrive.

Geof Wheelwright: So tell us why it’s important to have Arm and its tech ecosystem involved in this?

Stephen Ozoigbo: Well, we we’ve been leading the last three decades of compute technology and we’ll continue to do so for a very long time to come.

Part of my role is not just to talk about Arm to these markets, but also bring along the Arm ecosystem and our ambitions in this regard are very consistent with our vision towards deploying technology that enables a globally connected population.

We must bring our partners along and we must allow them to see some of the opportunities to localize their technologies. Certainly as we do this there’s a value chain that’s a deep and broad, and we have OEMs and ODMs that have emerging market technology requirements that we must open up. We have to get these pathways to open up. It is also important for us to bring the right types of technologies to these regions because it’s never a one size fits all.

And we must have a dialogue with the policy stakeholders, the industry and investment stakeholders, the infrastructure stakeholders and most importantly the end users of these technologies, the startups, the developers, the folks who are touching creating and building.

When we bring our ecosystem along with us, then there is an opportunity for us to train folks, to create knowledge bases that are hyperlocalized and to also expand the knowledge, resources, all the way to universities, allowing for more people to be trained on Arm and allow Arm to be the compute foundation for which these digital economies will be built.

Geof Wheelwright: That’s how that’s a really broad mandate. I’m wondering what the opportunities and challenges are in implementing that?

Stephen Ozoigbo: Oh, absolutely. There’s a, there’s a huge opportunity for education.

Part of what we’re doing now is we’re setting up a lab in South Africa that allows us to interact with the educational ecosystem, industry, universities, and even allowing for some of the developer communities to be trained on Arm. The investment that we’re going to be making in these education tools, resources and curriculum allows us to put on first into classrooms, starting from K-12.

We’re not talking about just university folks. We want to start young. We want to enable the ICT skills that are especially crucial for the fourth industrial revolution and the digital transformation of their economies. We want to emphasize training and technology adoption. We want to make sure that these core Arm training tools and resources are available, they’re local they’re available, and they are circumventing some of the infrastructure challenges on the ground.

Adopting digital solutions is a promise for every economy, but in some cases, there are unique headwinds towards successfully doing that and we have to be able to make sure that these adoptions are in line with economic development activity, sustainable development activity that would reach finance, health education, and even start-ups that are building new solutions for these economies.

Of course there are partnerships and we have an opportunity for the Arm ecosystem to coordinate with us on ways of market entry and create an Arm consortium and partner network in these countries. Certainly from a commercial standpoint we have to adopt towards what I tend to call solution selling.

In many instances for the emerging markets we work backwards from the problem towards the actual solution. We have to be able to speak to stakeholders, understand the new unique problems and bring our ecosystem along as we creatively and sustainably design solutions to those problems. To do all this there’s a need for a necessary infrastructure investments.

And whether those investments are coming in the hyperscale, whether they’re coming in telco, whether they’re coming even at manufacturing level or within startups and the granular ecosystem players, we need to ensure that we carry along the right types of partners.

There’s a strong need for data processing capabilities across these markets, the traditional architectures are expanding to edge and 5G. The regulatory requirements for these countries in terms of data localization and creating a lot of incentives for infrastructure improvements. These are things the parts of the Arm ecosystem are great at and we have to carry them along.

And finally, it’s, it’s the Arm promise. It’s the Arm promise for low power compute. It’s the Arm promise for energy efficiency. It’s the Arm promise for sustainable design, sustainable technology. It’s the Arm promise towards decarbonizing compute and enabling and empowering digital ecosystems.

We have to ensure that our ability to reduce carbon footprints due to this accelerated adoption is one where we have a leadership role within our ecosystem promoting carbon neutrality, driving technology adoption in tandem but ensuring that the emerging markets get a first feel for Arm’s energy efficient and low power solutions.

Geof Wheelwright: So those are with a lot of promises. You said what happens next? And where does it all go in the next 10 years?

Stephen Ozoigbo: In the next 10 years adoption for us will be really scaling up on the Arm promise. Right now, it’s over 300 billion devices and we want to be able to keep that tracking. We will see the adoption in emerging markets lead to a lot of technology convergence.

And let me explain what I mean by this. We were already on that trajectory. Arm is already in every device in almost every part of the world. What we want to do is keep an eye on what the converged devices would look like in the future, especially in the emerging markets. We want to pay attention to the hybridization of infrastructure, the smart infrastructure I mentioned earlier, telco edge, cloud.

What does that mean in terms of hybrid and interconnects? For all of this to happen successfully there has to have a power efficiency gradient to it. And these systems have to be secure. The security for an Arm value prop is one of the most critical things we bring into these markets because as we accelerate adoption we have to make sure that a lot of these networks are very secure.

Certainly we cannot go wrong with the application side of things where artificial intelligence machine learning become mainstay as to how these technologies not only reacts with each other or interact with each other but also in the way that they interact with us as users.

In a very strong way I see the next 10 years as an era of hyper localization. We have to be able to allow for local ecosystems to thrive in these two markets. The partnerships that we bring in, the languages, the lines of business, the solutions, the policies, and even the digital identities of the users and the types of technologies we’ll be bringing into these ecosystems.

Hyper localization for a South Africa, hyper localization for a Brazil. Hyperlocalized four Chile. Hyper localization for a Kenya. What does that mean? It means that we’re looking at not just technology language skills, but even interactive language skills. We’re looking at user bases that are challenged by certain infrastructure dependencies and we’re making sure that we pay attention to how these problems are solved in a local way.

And for us to do this another thing that would happen over the next decade hopefully is that the ecosystems that we help to build are more robust. We have an ambition around developers. We’re currently working with the likes of Google and AWS and looking at the developer ecosystems that they’ve built across Africa.

The Google developer groups are over a hundred thousand developers across all tiers of users. Amazon has it in the tens of thousands as well. How do we ensure that we make these ecosystems more robust and ready for the digital transformation capabilities that their local economies demand?

We have to have developer training. We have to be able to get the right types of developer tools, libraries, and resources into the hands of these developers. They have to be localized as I mentioned earlier. We have to support startups. Support startup acceleration in the hardware space. Support startup acceleration in the connectivity space. Allow the African and south American ecosystem players to build for themselves.

We definitely want to have venture scalability, right? So as these developers and startups are utilizing these tools and getting better equipped, how do we ensure that the right type of capital flows through to allow them accelerate the work that they are doing? How do we ensure that the African Facebook comes out and the African Google comes out and not just that, how do we leverage hyperscale infrastructure that is now circumventing the need for traditional infrastructure?

These ecosystems are going to be more robust over the next 10 years. I always want to highlight sustainability because for us to do this efficiently, the energy dependency, the ultra-low power, the resilience and the environmentally sustainable promises that the arm ecosystem brings has to be amplified over the next 10 years.

We must ensure that the emerging market stakeholders are true beneficeries. And also I’m gaining directly from Arm’s innovation.

Geof Wheelwright: Well, as I said at the outset, this is truly inspiring. Thanks again for highlighting the truly unique opportunities in and for emerging markets. I learned a lot and I’m sure our listeners did too.

We look forward to bringing you more conversation in the next episode of Arm Viewpoints. Thanks again for listening today.

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