Tech start-ups in Africa anticipate explosive growth

Posted on March 10, 2014 09:09 am

A new study has revealed that tech start-ups across Africa are expected to experience an explosive growth in the next three years following initiatives by governments to finance and encourage private sector backed programmes. Such programmes have led to a long-term commitment in helping drive innovation in the Africa mobile Internet ecosystem. According to the study, there is a strong and emerging start-up ecosystem in African countries and great potential for the continent to become a hub of digital innovation. Kenyan government for example has been helping accelerate local start-ups’ success by helping them connect to the outside world and has supported training and workspace resources for new start-ups to build their business. The Kenyan government aim is to bring Kenya apps and services to the East African market and then spread across the continent. Kenya has advantages including its emerging start-up ecosystem, a lot of opportunities and a growing market in terms of smartphones and mobile Internet usage. Kenyan government support start-ups either through direct funding or commercialization support via incubation and acceleration that helps fill in the gap between the start-up and growth stages. In South Africa, the government provides support for those that are ready to bring their product and service to local and international markets through established distribution and commercialization channels. South Africa has the strongest hi-tech start-up communities in the Africa, with rapid growth in digital services and local content development.

However, experts believes the next big game changers will emerge in Nigeria, and when they do, it will open to them the African platforms and markets crucial to both domestic and international success as happened with its famous local and internationally successful Nigerian film industry well known as Nollywood. In Nigeria, incubation track is for tech start-ups who have ideas but have yet to create a product or business model and have time to attend training throughout the entire programme and the acceleration track is for those that have developed a product and business model. In countries like Mauritius, Kenya and Tanzania the governments and private sector are providing support beyond mobile applications to encourage wider types including online health services, e-commerce, mobile commerce payment, online financial services, educational content, music, games, entertainment, books and for the case of Botswana it includes online application services for SMEs and cloud applications for enterprises. Mentors from around the world have been participating on pitching, building user experience, business models and marketing in African tech start-ups ecosystem. The study also shows that in the next three years, more start-ups are expected to join the bandwagon and that means there will be more supporters and investors paying a lot of attention to seeding and accelerating start-ups, and the opening of the market with the high growth of mobile Internet usage especially in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Angola. The start-up phenomenon in Africa is more and more active and governments and private sector players aim is to provide support and growth opportunities for African entrepreneurs as well as elevate the digital start-up ecosystem in the continent of more than 1 billion people. Me think such initiatives will enable entrepreneurs in the continent to acquire the best skills and financing that will help oil their growth and recognition internationally.

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