Penetration of Tech Startups in Africa

Reports indicate that over 35% of the African population has Internet access. While Africa accounts for 15.0% of the world’s population, only 10.9% of the World’s Internet subscribers are Africans. Africans who have access to broadband connections are estimated to be in percentage of 1% or lower.

In 2017, a total amount of $560 million was invested in startups. South Africa ($167.9 million), Kenya ($147 million) and Nigeria ($114.6 million) accounted for 76% of the total funding that came into the region.

In recent time, Africans have been waking up to grab and explore the opportunities abound in solving African problems through the use of technology thought startups establishment.

Tech Startups companies are springing out and they have been able to solve some major problems besetting the African continent ranging from transportation, communications, mobile banking, Agriculture, etc. Thankfully, a number of business and innovation blogs have been at the forefront of sharing the stories appropriately. 

It has been said that the first technological movement in Africa can be traced back to Nairobi the state capital of Kenya. In 2006, Kenya experienced what was called “The Big Boom” in Internet connectivity.

The first undersea Internet cable was laid and as a result, Kenyans have more access to the Internet. Different technological innovations were carried out and to a large extent, some exist till date.

First among those innovations was M-mobile money service. M-mobile was officially launched by Safaricom a Telecom Company in 2007 with the primary aim of fast-tracking the process of sending and receiving money without a bank account.

As long as you have a mobile phone, you can send and receive money. Within some few years, M-mobile was able to acquire over 6 million customers on its database.

Towards the end of 2007 an app called USHAHIDI was launched by a group of four young individuals – Erik Hersman, Ory Okolloh, JuliananRotich, and David Kobia – with the aim of monitoring and tracking down violence during elections in Kenya and it became a huge success.

e-Tech Startup companies in Kenya are Branch, Tala, Kopo Kopo, Bamba, Angaza, Eneza Education, etc.

In Nigeria, mobile banking has been revolutionized and made very easy through technology. Commercial banks are partnering with tech startup to create apps which enable the business transaction carried out efficiently without an individual having to visit the banking hall.

Fintech companies such as Paga, etc. have improved the standard of paying and receiving money over the years exponentially. They have been able to make online banking transaction so easy that in just a click, you can send and receive money and also monitor your financial transactions without you calling your account officer for an explanation.

They have been able to create thousands of jobs and manage to attract over $82 million dollars in grants in the first quarter of 2018.

There is also Thrive Agric, Farmcrowdy, Agritech, etc. whose major aim is to connect farmers and investors together via a mobile app thereby solving one of the main problems of farmers who do not have start-up capitals to buy notable equipment and hire more hands to expand their business.

In terms of transportation, Gokoda, Taxify, SmartCab, etc. are making headway.

In the Northern part of Africa, Cities such as Algiers, Cairo, Casablanca, and Sousse are seriously making headway in terms of creating a fast-growing, ICT, ed-Tech, and e-health innovation centers.

Egypt has been credited as being the torchbearer when it comes to tech startups in the Northern part of Africa. According to, it has been estimated that fundraising spiked up to 105% making Egypt one of the most popular technological driven innovation centers in the continent.

Apart from the fact that Egypt does experience periodical political turmoil, successful tech startups are growing up vibrantly. With a population of over 90 million people, coupled with the fact that millions of the entire population are mobile phone users, it has been postulated that there will be a 35% growth rate in the future of mobile and web commerce in the coming years. Notable tech companies in Egypt are Fawry, Tpay, Dopay, Raye7, Tyro, jeered, etc.

Tech startups are also coming of age in Morocco and Tunisia. It has been estimated that in Morocco a total amount of $3.4 million was raised with Beerset (a meeting and events app) raising most of it. Tunisia is also doing quite well with companies like Roammart and getting funded.

In the Southern part of Africa, South Africa has experienced massive growth in economic opportunities as a result of the emergence of tech startups. With the majority of South Africans having smartphones with access to the internet and card base payment becomes popular, the emergence of companies has been able to bridge the gap between customers and merchant.

Tech startups such as Hashtag South Africa, Tuluntulu, Jobcrawler, Yoco, The Artery, Smart Toy club, etc. have been able to solve various problems besetting the country and also created more job opportunities South Africans.

Finally, Investors have realized that when it comes to tech startups, the best place to invest is Africa. The African continent is gradually waking up and the ground is very fertile for new innovative and technological ideas to take root.