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SA still Africa’s top startup ecosystem but has fallen 13 places, shows new ranking

Featured image: Cape Town city centre at night (nobull via Pixabay)

South Africa may still have the highest ranked startup ecosystem for an African country, but it is no longer in the top 50 club, after dropping 13 spots, a new ranking shows.

The ranking — developed by StartupBlink, a global startup ecosystem map with tens of thousands of registered startups, coworking spaces and accelerators — was released last week. It ranks 100 countries and 1000 cities for 2018.

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Startup Blink draws its data from what it claims is an algorithm that analyses tens of thousands of data points on registered startups, accelerators and coworking spaces listed on the StartupBlink global startup ecosystem map, as well as data received from its global partners such as Crunchbase and SimilarWeb.

The report puts South Africa just behind Malaysia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia — but ahead of Kenya, The Philippines, Nigeria and Peru.

South Africa is no longer in the top 50 club after dropping 13 spots, reveals StartupBlink

All of the other members from the Brazil, Russia, India, Russia, SA (Brics) bloc are placed ahead of South Africa, with Russia (15) ranked as the top emerging market country followed by India (17).

The US is ranked as the top ecosystem, followed by the UK, Canada and Israel, respectively.

When it comes to other African ecosystems, Kenya is ranked 51, Nigeria at 56, Egypt at 60, Rwanda at 64, Morocco at 65, Tunisia at 74, Ghana at 75, Uganda at 81, Cameroon at 84 Botswana at 90, Zambia at 92, Algeria at 99 and Ethiopia at 100.

Despite the fall in its rankings, StartupBlink said South Africa’s potential however remains “extremely high”, adding that it is better positioned than its African counterparts to become a global startup hub.

“More active and positive government support is needed in order to reduce the difficulties facing startups and to simplify laws, helping entrepreneurs focus on what really matters — their business,” the report’s authors said.

In contrast, the report notes that Kenya’s startup ecosystem is developing apace.

“Since 2007, Kenya’s startup ecosystem has been revolutionising mobile payments with such startups as m-Pesa. Kenya’s government has been involved in startup ecosystem development since 2013, with the launch of Konzo Techno City, a tech park project built outside of Nairobi.

“Global tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Intel are also located in the capital city. Despite being one of Africa’s well-established startup ecosystems, Kenya still has room to improve. The country receives far less global funding and investment, and has fewer helpful government initiatives, than are present in higher ranked countries,” the report said.

Lagos top African city

When it comes to cities, the report places Cape Town at 157 (down 17 places over 2017) and Johannesburg at 248th spot (up 22 places).

This compares to Lagos at 99 (up a massive 120 spots), Nairobi at 105th spot (up 86 places from 2017) and Cairo at 177th (up 27 spots). Kigali is ranked at 232, Casablanca at 284, Tunis at 223 and Accra at 244.

The ranking places San Francisco as the city with the world’s best startup ecosystem, followed by New York, London, Los Angeles and Boston, respectively. Two cities emerging market are among the top 20 — with Moscow at 10, Beijing at 17 and New Delhi at 18.

Featured image: Cape Town city centre at night (nobull via Pixabay)

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