- Tech Safari
- Four African countries we're watching in 2024
Four African countries we're watching in 2024
Africa's up and coming tech ecosystems
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Your tour guide on African Tech 🧭
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This is our last edition for the year before we go on break. We’ll be back next year with our annual recap!
Enjoy this one, and have a restful holiday season.
It’s been a few wild years of funding in Africa, with ups and downs. But mostly ups.
But there’s a catch. Not everyone saw that money.
Most of that money ended up with an exclusive club of countries that go as the ‘Big Four’: Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt.
And they’re the darling of VCs in Africa.
In 2021, these four pulled in 73% of the continent’s venture funding, with Nigeria alone taking half of that.
And if we’re talking tech in Africa, the ‘Big Four’ have earned their hype:
Each of these markets is also the ‘center’ of its respective regional tech ecosystem.
Nigeria's the boss of West Africa. South Africa's the king in the south. Kenya's leading the charge in the east. And Egypt's ruling the north.
But as Africa rolls into its next startup phase, it's not all about the ‘Big Four’ anymore.
And even though funding has cooled down in Africa, smaller ecosystems have quietly seen some growth.
If you know Tech Safari, you know we love uncovering new ecosystems.
So let’s look beyond the Big Four and check out which countries are up next.
Independence Square in Accra, Ghana
Tucked between Togo, Burkina Faso, and Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana is one of West Africa’s most well-known countries.
And when they're not beefing with Nigeria over who makes the best Jollof, they're busy playing catch up with Nigeria’s startup scene.
And in the first half of this year?
Total funding fell like in other markets. But Ghana was in the top four for deal activity and in the top five for funding volume.
Here’s a quick breakdown of where some of this money went:
And these interesting startups are trying to solve some of Ghana’s toughest problems:
Senegal is one of the 21 countries in Africa that speaks French.
If you're into the EPL, you may know it as the home of Sadio Mané - the star ex-winger for Liverpool.
But for the tech crowd, Senegal is famous as the birthplace of Wave, one of Africa's tech unicorns.
A Wave agent in Senegal
And they’ve come a long way to get to building unicorns.
Back in 2017, Senegalese startups were picking up close to $11 million in funding.
Fast forward five years, and they’re scooping more than 10 times that, hitting $151 million last year.
Alongside Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal is at the heart of Francophone Africa’s startup boom, and a lot of credit goes to their government.
Senegal's 2019 Startup Act was a big nod to tech, simplifying startup laws and offering goodies like low taxes and mentorship.
They've even set up a $50m fund (DER) to fire up entrepreneurship among women and young people in Senegal.
And here are a few startups in Senegal worth a shout-out:
A Chargel fleet
Rabat - Morocco’s capital city
Located in North Africa, Morocco is part of the 21 countries that make up the MENA region.
And like Egypt, it’s a gateway to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
Its proximity to these markets makes it super appealing for African startups eyeing global expansion.
Investors are taking note too.
Last year, Morocco reached an all-time high with $30M invested in more than 25 funding rounds.
Morocco raked in over $15 million across 15 deals, the country's best performance yet.
Here are a few Moroccan startups to watch:
Mubawab: A prop-tech startup where sellers and landlords can list properties in Morocco and Tunisia. They raised over $10 million in 2020 and then raked in $7 million the next year from UAE's Emerging Markets Property Group).
Victoria Falls in Zambia
Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, home to over 19 million people, and the epic Victoria Falls.
While they’re big on mining and agriculture, Zambia is betting on becoming the next big tech hub in Africa.
And it’s starting to happen.
Since 2015, a total of 23 startups have raised more than $75 million in disclosed funding.
It’s not just deals though.
Loads of tech companies are betting on Zambia’s market too.
Zambia’s home-grown startups are also pulling their weight.
It’s the home of fintechs, with their numbers soaring from 25 to 57 between 2018 and last year.
Some of them are:
The ‘Big Four’ have dominated funding these past few years.
But current trends and recent success stories show that countries like Ghana, Senegal, Morocco, and Zambia have what it takes to be up there with the big guys.
Which countries are you watching? Let me know here.
And that's a wrap for the year! Catch you in 2024.
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