TechInAfrica – You may have seen our previous stories regarding technology development in Sheba Valley, Ethiopia which serves as homes for various startups and tech firms in Africa—just like San Fransisco’s Silicon Valley. Now, Ethopia itself sets its goal on becoming Africa’s next startup hub. This idea could theoretically motivate other regions in arranging a friendly competition between each other, all to strengthen Africa’s tech scene in general. Furthermore, In becoming the pioneer for the other countries, government policies are revised and entrepreneurs and innovators alike are assembled.
With over 250,000 new graduates every year, of whom 70% are in Science, Technology, and Engineering, Ethiopia supplies most of technical talents to all across Africa—even to Europe, America, and sometimes Asia. Named one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, Ethiopia is also consistently ranked as a top foreign investment destination; presumably because of its numerous startups. Along with the relentless will to show Ethiopia’s true potential to the world, the region is so much more than “the Land of Origins”.
On June 8th and 9th, Startup Ethiopia was held in Addis Ababa. The event was an exhibition where various startups and investors gather to solve problems of more than 110 million people. The event was initially intended to identify and showcase dynamic startups from all over Ethiopia, while bringing together all the startup ecosystem builders across private sector, government, and civil society. This, in return, would renown Ethiopia as “the Land of Startups”. Countless types of startups took the stage by storm in this year’s Startup Ethiopia—representing every aspect of human everyday life, namely in transportation, food, fashion, media, communications, finance, health, and many more.
You can even check out their official website here.
However, to make their dream of becoming Africa’s startup hub a reality, the country with the continent’s seventh largest economy will have to recover from their government-issued network shutdowns and eventually improve the quality of the nation’s internet. Connectivity is one crucial thing to be implemented to a scheme as big as Ethiopia’s—mainly in their rapidly-growing tech industry. Even the two-days event’s Wi-Fi wasn’t always accessible, which ultimately led Ethiopian tech geeks to point out the obvious problem.
At one point after Startup Ethiopia, Jemal Beker, the nation’s State Minister of Innovation and Technology, commited that he and the Ethiopian government will improve the country’s internet quality to better facilitate the goals of 105 million people. Yet, the government still outrageously shuts down the internet merely days after Beker’s pledge. Although no official reason has been stated by the government, locals have speculated that the shutdown was to prevent students from cheating in national exams.
On a more positive side note, the prospect of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s next startup hub is fairly favorable, considering that external factors such as assembly imports from China and distinct connections to Silicon Valley could be more than meets the eye for seed-stage ventures. But all of these would extend very few if the region’s internet keeps shutting off-and-on without no official reason. If these improvements are laid out alongside a reliable, more sustainable internet networking for the citizens (and not controlled by a single company), then it is more than likely that the development of startups will be more effective and well-organized.