Creation of Jobs and Growth within Emerging Economies Relies Mainly On Digital Transformation


Entrepreneurship and innovation are the key pillars of the growth of the emerging technology system in Africa. From the research carried out by the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator, the number of innovation hubs in Africa has doubled over the past two years. The big three cities Cape Town, Lagos and Nairobi, have been dominating the growth narrative in Sub-Saharan Africa. But upcoming incubators are coming up in the new ecosystem in North Africa. The growth in that region is driven by four cities that are Algiers, Casablanca, Sousse, and Cairo. The four have put much focus on creating sustainable models of operations in the highest growing ICT sector. This will help overcome tough business problems around future-proofing, viability the business and more so coming up with continuous success stories.

The Funding Report 2017 by Disrupt Africa tech startups, funding of African tech startups went up to 51% reaching 4195 million last year this is compared to 2016. Many of African tech hubs are mainly funded through grants by foundations and governments. But there has been a growth of social ventures and profit generation mindset and self-funding to realize faster growth.  According to the Middle East and North Africa Region’s (MNA) chief economist at the World Bank, Rabeh Arezki, African tech hubs mainly focuses on services driven by demand as far as funding is concerned. These are those services that solve mostly challenges and offer support for specific wants of an ecosystem. He added that for success, a modern innovation hub has to take note of growth area’s niche and come out with the right preposition. He stated startups that are looking at improving education, infrastructure, and payment systems as the areas that are redly ripe. These are the businesses that have the highest percentage of succeeding.

Xona Partners investment expert Eric Chan said that it is essential that the gaps that were there in innovation, technology development, and digital entrepreneurship are closing down. He added that technology hubs are playing a vital role in the infrastructure development which is very important. According to Chan many hubs are operated by young entrepreneurs who think ahead and are looking forward to improving their set of skills. He finishes by saying that the hubs are narrowing the skill gaps that will continue the growth local ecosystem. In the recent past, Algiers has recorded a conducive investment climate and hosting renowned regional summits like Global Smart Cities Technology and Investment which will take place on 27th to 28th June 2018. The summit is expected to bring together 4,000 smart city leaders from across the globe. They will discuss how smart sustainability and data, smart technology and ecosystem, and the role of government in promoting new technology. Smart City Algiers founder Faitha Sliman said that the project shows the country’s commitment to developing its city based on innovation, sustainability, and durability. He added that the country is trying to come up with solutions to challenges referred to as the cascading technology trap. This is where technology drifts away at a faster rate compared to developers of policy.

Furthermore, innovation hubs are using hybrid systems to ensure sustainability. Mobile operators such as MTN now support more than 14% of active hubs across Africa because of the opportunity to scale faster. For example of such hubs are Moroccan based Orange-Start on, and Algerian based ENP Incubator. The partnership is significant for any growth. Many have realized this fact, and they have realized that African startups will play an essential role in the growth of Africa economies and societies. Mobile operators, investors, tech gurus and educational institutions are getting ways to help in shaping the local ecosystems. According to Meraki Consulting’s CEO who happened to be the CEO of Sousse the first startup incubator in Tunisia Faten Aissi Zardi, culture is the most critical asses of any ecosystem. African informal economy together with a lot of restrictive regulations and stakeholder are stumbling block to the expansion to over a single region.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
Denis the Tech guru

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