Rwanda Firmly Positions Itself On Africa’s Tech Hub Map
By Laurent Lamouth founder of LSL World Initiative
In recent years governments across Africa have prioritised investment into the technology industry. With tech hubs growing across the continent by 40% this year. Africa’s technology ecosystem experienced rapid growth with 618 active tech hubs providing “the backbone of Africa’s tech ecosystem,” according to a recent report by GSMA. Added to this venture capital firm Partech Africa says that African tech startups raised $1.163 billion in equity funding in 2018, a 108% year-over-year growth.
What I found interesting in the report was that it identified an “innovation quadrangle” encompassed by Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya. It defined a tech hub is defined as “an organisation currently active with a local physical address, offering facilities and support for tech and digital entrepreneurs”. According to the report Nigeria and South Africa are still the most advanced ecosystems, the report found, with 85 and 80 active tech hubs respectively. Lagos is now the top innovative city with several hubs (40+), while the Western Cape, Gauteng and Durban are the core of South Africa’s tech hubs scene.
The report notes that Kenya, already established as the heart of East Africa’s technology ecosystem, with almost 50 tech hubs. Represents the Eastern point of this innovation quadrangle, and new investors and corporates are flocking to Nairobi every week, looking to seize the fast-growing pool of tech talents in the country.
The report’s co-author Dario Giuliani and Sam Ajadi add that; “Egypt, with 56 active hubs, is positioned as the de facto node between the African and Middle Eastern ecosystems. Cairo, among the top urbanising cities globally, has now grown to become one of the top three cities by the number of hubs across the continent.
Rwanda is another country that is rapidly cementing is position as a tech hub. Through the recently launched Mara phone, a smartphone manufactured entirely in Africa puts the country well on the tech hub map.
Matt Davis writes that in the past decade, Rwanda has developed impressively quickly, averaging 7.5% GDP growth, which is among the highest on the continent. In part due to tech ventures like the Mara Group’s recently released Mara Phone, which has taken the title of the first African-made smartphone. Other smartphones have been made in Africa before, but Mara phones are the first to manufacture all of its components in Africa.
What Rwanda has done is harnessed the power of the mobile phone, which has had an undoubted positive social impact on the African continent. It has enabled financial inclusion but also greater access to information. I recently spoke at Angotic, Angola’s most reputable innovation forum. I explained that today, we are witnessing the uberization of economies and that today through the mobile phone a farmer in Africa has as much access to information as a president does. I want to congratulate Rwanda and the Mara Group for achieving what many would have considered impossible a mere two decades ago.
About Laurent Lamothe
Laurent Lamothe is a Haitian businessman, economist, and politician. Known as Haiti’s most successful and longest-serving Prime Minister, Lamothe is a visionary leader driven by a deep sense of global social responsibility. He is a thought leader in social entrepreneurship, impact programs, technology and innovative finance. Lamothe is also a successful entrepreneur who leverages his business and management expertise to develop critical infrastructure in emerging nations. In 1998, at the age of 26, he founded Global Voice Group, which over the last two decades has grown to become one of Africa’s foremost technology companies. Resigning as Prime Minister in 2014 Lamothe went on to found LSL World Initiative. The organisation is a global enterprise that provides solutions for governments of emerging countries to overcome debt and achieve sustainable development. In December of the same year, Lamothe founded the Dr Louis G Lamothe Foundation in honour and memory of his late father. In 2019, Lamothe was inducted into ‘Power Brand LIFE: Hall of Fame’, for his outstanding achievements in the struggle for equality and human rights in Haiti through his work with the Foundation.