The African tech ecosystem had seen the birth of 643 tech hubs as of the third quarter of 2019. These hubs are taking massive roles in the development of the tech space.
A research conducted by Afrilabs and Briter Bridges titled ‘Building a Conducive Setting for Innovators to Thrive; a Qualitative and Quantitative Study of Hundred Hubs Across Africa’, explained that Africa has witnessed tremendous growth in the number of tech hubs in 2019.
The Hubs have increased in number from 314 in 2016 to 442 in 2018, as well as a concurrent increase from 618 in the first quarter of 2019. Amazingly, the figures rose to 643 at the end of October 2019.
Amidst the 643 tech hubs, 41% of them operated as incubator programmes, 24% are innovation hubs, 14% are accelerator programs while the remaining 39% offered co-working space.
When divided geographically, Nigeria has 90 hubs – the largest hub holding in Africa. This is followed by South Africa with 78 hubs and 56 hubs in Egypt. Kenya has 50 hubs, Morocco has 34, Tunisia 36, Ghana 27 and Tanzania 23. Other hubs across Africa can be accessed in the report.
These hubs all received various levels of funding between $1 to $4,999,999 within Q1 and Q3 of 2019. The funds came majorly from NGOs, FDIs and corporate sponsors.
The tech hubs in Africa also provide a certain percentage of funding to startups. It comes as a 30% equity investment for incubator and accelerator programmes. Some 25% fund comes in-kind and a smaller portion of the fund is given out as debt funding.
Amidst this growth, Lagos-based CcHub and Nairobi’s iHUB joined forces in September to form a formidable tech platform that can attract FDIs and accelerate tech growth in the continent.
The Founder of Briter Bridges, Dario Giuliani explained that the hubs have the potential to facilitate growth and enhance synergies in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
They are however faced with 2 key challenges namely; lack of funds and stringent regulatory policies. This has impinged the functionality of the hubs.
The growth of technology and tech hubs in Africa also impacts the continent’s economies. There have been fast-paced business activities in major cities like Lagos, Cairo, Abidjan, Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam.
The need to provide an enabling environment for tech hubs to thrive and promotes flexible engagement. African government needs to put deliberate measures in place to favour the growth of technology in the continent.
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