Africa’s tech scene is surging. Across the continent, new hubs, labs and co-working environments are giving rise to oases of innovation.
These meeting places act as a bridge between technology start-ups, investors and academics, nurturing collaborations. Entrepreneurs experiment together and learn from one another, supported by the hubs’ ICT
infrastructure and mentoring programmes.
The results – from the ‘crowdmapping’ tool Ushahidi to homebrew solar heaters to a farmers’ cooperative – are strengthening community-led food and energy systems, and could bring new resilience to local economies.
Africa is experiencing a perfect storm of young people, maturing education systems, and growing mobile phone services and use. A few noteworthy achievements, including Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile payment service, have attracted the attention of investors, both inside the continent and outside.
Additionally, the mobile Web is a very new opportunity in Africa, and Africa, of course, doesn’t have these types of investors, so getting them to come here [from abroad] will be of great benefit for an ecosystem that lacks experienced investors. Leveraging investment from abroad is not a bad thing if it serves the interests of the community that produces the wealth, as well as those who are risking their money.
The various tech hubs in Africa vary a lot in their scale, objectives and business models. Some aspire to be fully-fledged ICT business incubators, others seek to grow through a franchise model, while others look to external seed funding from commercial partners or co-working spaces, where entrepreneurs come together to shape and refine business ideas
The Forum for the future reports that the ability of the African tech sector to attract high-profile investment is partly due to improvements to the continent’s IT infrastructure. With this trend the Continent is headed to the higher technological spheres globally.