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Venture capital (VC) and private equity investors are banking on an African tech boom over the next three years, with the continent’s start-up ecosystem expanding rapidly, new research for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows.
The global study by independent research company PureProfile found nearly six out of 10 (59%) predict growth of 50% or more with around one in five (18%) expecting the sector to expand by 75% or more during the period. As part of the research, interviews were conducted with 100 senior private equity and VC executives based in the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Improvements in the business environment in Africa will be the key driver, the study with senior VC and private equity executives across the United Kingdom, United States, the Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, and Germany found.
More than half (54%) of those questioned believe the business environment on the continent is improving, while 41% point to greater geo-political stability and 36% say the ongoing expansion of internet connectivity will support a tech boom.
More than half (55%) believe that will lead to Africa becoming a tech superpower within 10 years while 39% believe the continent will achieve that status within 10 to 20 years.
World Mobile is one of the major innovators revolutionising internet connectivity in Africa and working with the government in Zanzibar. Its innovative solution includes launching a unique hybrid mobile network delivering connectivity supported by aerostats backed up with a range of technologies including mesh networking, hybrid spectrum, renewable energy, and blockchain.
It plans to expand the network throughout the continent and is in discussions with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators.
World Mobile chief executive Micky Watkins said, “Private capital investment in Africa hit a record high of $7.4 billion last year as venture capital and private equity investors poured money into projects and investment funds.
“Technology is a key area for start-ups and there is increased confidence in rapid growth with a majority of investors expecting a 50% increase in just three years. Governments in the continent are focused on supporting private businesses and political stability is also important.
“But the importance of internet connectivity is growing, particularly for areas where delivering affordable and reliable connectivity remains an issue. World Mobile’s network based on the sharing economy sells affordable network nodes to local business owners, so they have the power to connect themselves and others while sharing the rewards. This will enable more people to access the opportunities that internet connectivity creates.”
World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, offering a more cost-effective way to provide a digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly 3 billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs.