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INTRODUCTION AFRICAN TECHECOSYSTEMS OF THE FUTURE 2021/22


African Tech Ecosystems of the Future 2021/22


SOUTH AFRICA HAS COME OUT ON TOP OF THE INAUGURAL AFRICAN TECH ECOSYSTEMS OF THE FUTURE RANKINGS. AIDEEN DUFFY REPORTS


reality has often failed to live up to these expectations. Left scarred by colonialism and the resulting volatil- ity and conflict, the continent has historically struggled to turn its huge endowment of human capital and natural resources into stable develop- ment.Nonetheless, the continent has shown pockets of tremendous poten- tial, which have proven to be fertile ground for entrepreneurs and start- ups to grow and blossom. For its inaugural African Tech


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Ecosystems of the Future rankings, fDi has teamed up with research company Briter Bridges to map the continent’s nascent tech ecosystems and explore their potential moving forward. The results provide a first look at the lively tech realities devel- oping around Africa’s biggest cities, where talent is finally able to find growing pools of capital to evolve their ideas into successful business ventures. Tech start-ups have long been


viewed as the preserve of only the richest countries. Indeed, data show that the likes of Silicon Valley, Boston and New York in the US, London and Berlin in Europe and Hong Kong in


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frica has long been cited as the final frontier for global growth and investment, yet


Asia remain in a league of their own when it comes to catalysing venture capital (VC) investment. However, new waves of tech entrepreneurship aremountingway beyond those pow- erhouses. While VC investment in Africa still represents a drop in the global investment ocean, the conti- nent, which is the youngest and fast- est-urbanising region in the world, is one of the most entrepreneurial regions on the planet. The African Development Bank reported that 22% of Africa’s working-age popula- tion are starting businesses — the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world. This entrepreneurial spirit is pro-


pelling awave of tech start-ups across the continent, with South Africa and Kenya leading in first and second place respectively in fDi’s African Tech Ecosystems of the Future rank- ing. The ranking utilised data from fDi Markets and Briter Bridges, in addition to other sources, to high- light the most promising countries for tech start-ups across Africa.


Techprowess South Africa stormed to the top of the inaugural fDi Africa Tech Ecosystems of the Future ranking, achieving not only first place overall,


but first place for Economic Potential, Start-Up Status and Business Friendliness. Home to Naspers, one of the world’s largest investors in tech companies, South Africa recorded the second-highest number of start-ups behind Nigeria, according to Briter Bridges figures, in addition to receiving the largest number of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in the software and IT services sector, according to data fromfDi Markets. South Africa is home to one of


most developed VC networks and the oldest start-up incubator on the con- tinent, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative. The incubator is credited with supporting more than 3000 entrepreneurs in its two- decade history. With ready access to VC funds, government grants, incu- bators and tech talent, SouthAfrica is a vision of what other tech ecosys- tems could become. Following behind South Africa,


Kenya took second place, bothoverall and in economic potential. The coun- try has the highest number of coding schools on the continent, according to Briter Bridges, a sure sign of the level of invest ment and interest in the country’s tech ecosystem. Kenya is also home to arguably


www.fDiIntelligence.com April/May 2021


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