Rwanda recently overtook Nigeria to become the third most conducive environment for startups in Africa. This was after they overtook Nigeria in the latest Startup Blink rankings that evaluated over 60,000 startups spread out across 14,000 coworking spaces globally. The data clearly points out the number of startups, their quality, and the business ecosystem. According to the report, Rwanda ranked 65 while Nigeria took the 68th position. In terms of cities, Nairobi took the top spot in Africa despite dropping 11 positions to 116th internationally.
Rwanda is a small country of 12 million people while Nigeria is the most populous country inhabited by over 200 million people. The strategic advantage offered by Rwanda is the ease of having an impact on a national level which can create a great PR push from a national platform. That exposure is vital for firms to build global partnerships that are key to fundraising and attracting top talent.
The Nigerian market is bigger and more ideal for businesses aiming for profitability. It also offers last-mover advantages. From a strategic viewpoint, it’s much better to use Rwanda as a launchpad for proof-of-concept then use the exposure to raise resources vital for succeeding in a country like Rwanda. Among the main challenges facing the Nigerian market are regulations such as the earlier ban on ride-hailing services.