Google’s Eric Schmidt: Nairobi could become the African tech leader

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt

Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has presented a summary of his Africa trip in which he said Kenya’s capital Nairobi was “a serious tech hub and may become the African leader”.

Of his analysis on some of the Sub-Saharan cities he visited in a week of business meetings, Schmidt stated in a Google+ post that Nairobi’s incubators are hosting potential solutions to many problems, including connecting M-Pesa with payment systems for local stores.

“Nairobi has emerged as a serious tech hub and may become the African leader. A combination of relatively stable politics, the British legal system, and a benign climate seem to attract a significant share of foreign investment.” Schmidt said.

While in Kenya, Schmidt visited iHub, a tech startups co-working space, where he met several companies still in their formative stages that have the potential to grow into “huge international business”.

“His questions were very sharp, as one would expect, on the local market and he was impressed by what some of the local startups like Kopo Kopo, SafariDesk and eLimu were doing,” Erik Hersman, a Kenyan entrepreneur, told Bloomberg.

Schmidt said that his company was already focusing on Kenya and was quick to point out that if the country manages to get through the upcoming March 4 elections without significant conflict, then its growth would be “quick”.

On the reasons for the development of the African tech scene in general, Schmidt highlighted the emergence of younger and more democratic leaders, young populations and the growing penetration of mobile phones, which will soon be the main source of internet for Africans. He also pointed out that existing problems like security, corruption and lack of reliable electricity in many parts of Africa could hider growth on the continent.

This article by Elly Okutoyi originally appeared on HumanIPO, a Burn Media publishing partner.



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