Tech Hubs in Africa See Explosive Growth

Student entrepreneurs in tech hub

Access to finance isn’t the only thing holding back African entrepreneurs — often, startups don’t have access to reliable internet, affordable offices, and a stimulating environment to work in. Our Capital Finder helps entrepreneurs access the alternative financing they need, and there’s good news on the latter front. A recent GSMA report found that there are 314 active tech hubs in Africa, as of July.

This is almost twice as many as identified in a World Bank report from last September, which identified 117 hubs on the continent. In other words, in under a year, the number of hubs grew by 168%. You can track all of the ones the World Bank found on this nifty interactive map.

The top four countries identified by both reports remained unchanged: South Africa (54, according to GSMA), Egypt (28), Kenya (27), and Nigeria (23) lead the way in terms of the number of hubs available. Morocco (21), Ghana (16), Tunisia (15), Uganda (12), and Senegal (10) round out the list of countries with 10 or more hubs.

Encouragingly, in last year’s report, the World Bank found that only 19 of the 117 hubs were government- or academia-led, meaning these spaces are arising to fulfill a genuine, demonstrated market demand.

GSMA’s definition of tech hubs is quite broad: “incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, fab labs, makerspaces, hackerspaces, and other innovation spaces.” The average age of the hubs is 4.3 years, and 13 percent of them have partnerships with mobile operators, with Orange, MTN, and Vodafone being the most represented.

GSMA summarized its findings in a useful infographic:

tech hubs in africa

Entrepreneurship in Africa is flourishing and with more spaces popping up to house startups, the growth is unlikely to slow down any time soon. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to fund your startup, make sure to check out our Capital Finder, which helps you find alternative sources of funding in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world.

h/t Quartz Africa