Tech hubs in Africa have doubled in more than a year

The amount of tech hubs in Africa has more than doubled in a year, according to a report by GSMA analyst Victor Du Boucher.

The report found that there are now 314 active tech hubs operating on the continent of Africa. The majority of these hubs are found to be operating out of South Africa, with 58 hubs, while Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Morocco followed with 28, 27, 23 and 21 hubs respectively. This is a large uptake from the previous year.

Boucher expanded on the wider definition of ‘tech hubs’.

“For the purpose of our landscaping exercise we have been looking at all kinds of physical spaces that fall under the broad term of ‘tech hubs’: incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, fab labs, makerspaces, hackerspaces and other innovation spaces,” said Boucher. “Incubators and accelerators – which provide start-ups with business support resources and services to help them scale – account for almost 60% of these tech hubs,” Boucher continued.

In Boucher’s write-up, it was noted that 13% of tech hubs have partnered with major mobile networks.

“In Africa, Orange, MTN, and Vodafone are the leading partners,” he explained.

“Mobile operators already play a central role in nurturing the development of innovative solutions in Africa,” said GSMA’s 2016 report, titled The Mobile Economy. “They have traditionally supported various initiatives to identify and develop new talent and solutions, including incubators, accelerators and competitions, mostly through funding and mentorship,” it continued.

The ever-increasing number of tech hubs also has valuable lessons for key players in the industry, or those wanting to step in.

Tim Kelly, lead ICT policy specialist at World Bank, wrote a paper titled How Tech Hubs are helping to Drive Economic Growth in Africawhich followed 117 startups.

“The fact that, of the 117 ICT hubs and incubators documented in this research, only nine are academic institution-led and another 10 led by governments, suggests that entrepreneurship and innovation are mainly demand and market driven, and do not necessarily revolve around public or academic sector management,” Kelly’s paper found.

Featured image: MEAACT Kenya via Flickr 



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