The Biggest Tech Cities And Hubs In Africa
The world’s next economic powerhouse? Africa.
Africa’s technology ecosystems have grown at a phenomenal pace in the past few years, with 618 active tech hubs across Africa creating its “backbone”, according to a joint GSMA report.
About one-third of the 50+ African countries have an annual GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of six percent – this makes the continent the second-highest in economic growth, right behind Asia.
But what are tech hubs?
The report defines it as an active organisation with a physical address that offers facilities and services to tech and digital entrepreneurs. This means co-working spaces, technology parks, incubators, and university-based innovation hubs. It identified an “innovation quadrangle” of Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa.
Africa: 618 Tech Hubs Mapping. Image Source: Baobab News
Young (and older!) entrepreneurial Africans can now bring their business ideas to these spaces and access free workspaces, Wi-Fi, and mentoring by university professors and business leaders. The appeal lies in the availability of fast Internet, reliable electricity, and a shared office space; spaces like Nairobi Garage in Kenya provides these along with conferences and workshops to help entrepreneurs gain more skills.
Our digital marketing agency constantly strives to bring the best of Africa to you, and so – in no particular order – we’ve highlighted some of the major upcoming tech hubs of Africa that are making waves.
- Nairobi, Kenya
The “Silicon Valley” of Africa, Nairobi is bursting with tech hubs like iHub, who are inspired by the meteoric rise of the transformative mobile app M-Pesa’s success.
- Accra, Ghana
In a bid to become the region’s major ICT (Information and Communication Technology) hub, Ghana’s ICT sector is powered by Accra-based startups like MoTeCH (Mobile Technology for Community Health in Ghana), MEST (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology), and Nandi Mobile, a mobile technology company.
- Johannesburg, South Africa
With the most developed telecommunications in Africa, Johannesburg has the highest number of tech hubs in the continent. Slowly transforming into a free Wi-Fi city, tech hubs like Jozihub lead the innovation movement.
- Lagos, Nigeria
The most populated city in Nigeria has the tech-In series, held every two days at the Co-Creation Hub where developers and designers create solutions to social problems. Yaba – or “Yabacon Valley” – is a leading technology cluster and startup system with companies like OLX, Paga, and Conga residing there. With 90 million+ Internet users, Nigeria is an investor magnet, especially with Lagos chosen as IBM’s Smart Cities Challenge test bed.
- Cairo, Egypt
With a massive and tech-savvy youth population, Egypt (and Cairo as its embodiment) boasts of the largest pool of leading venture funds like Algebra Ventures, Sawari Ventures and Swvl. Startups include Instabug, Cloudpress, and Simplex – all of which come from Flat6Labs, an investment venture that trains startups and offers seed funding.
- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The home to iceaddis, Ethiopia’s first innovation hub (2011) created to promote interactions between entrepreneurs, financiers, and creatives from the tech universe.
- Kampala, Uganda
With technology and ICT changing its landscape, Uganda’s sectors of mobile devices and mobile and computer applications have witnessed rapid growth. Kampala is home to six incubators – including Mara Launchpad and Hive Colab, a community-run innovation center where tech entrepreneurs, web/app developers and designers, and investors meet up to nurture and birth ideas.
- Kigali, Rwanda
Despite its tumultuous history, Rwanda’s Vision 2020 program has campaigned for change, seen in the development of tech hubs like K-Lab, Impact Hub Kigali, and Hehe Ltd, which creates mobile applications and offers coding training to youth.
- Casablanca, Morocco
The first North African nation to adopt the 3G network and readily turning into Africa’s financial epicentre, Casablanca’s projects like Casablanca Technopark (a business cluster focused on developing Morocco’s IT) have created hundreds of jobs and are home to many ICT companies. Morocco now aims to launch free Wi-Fi hotspots in every major city’s public zones.
Other big tech hubs include Dakar (Senegal) and Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire).
Tech hubs are one of the best examples of African resilience and entrepreneurial spirit. They foster innovation and creativity despite setbacks like conflict and unstable Internet access – Ethiopian tech hubs are learning to survive despite frequent Internet shutdowns by the government and Somalia unveiled its first innovation hub in Mogadishu. Elsewhere, institutional support for startups such as Tunisia’s 2018 Startup Act is fostering growth.
Tech hubs are starting to specialise and expand beyond individual ecosystems, and Digital Odyssey can help you stay on top of trends to effectively navigate the complex waters of the internet. Our marketing agency can help you with further ideas of how to design world-class websites, seamless user journeys and digital marketing campaigns.
Contact Us to Learn How