“NexTech Africa is an opportunity to accelerate the use of products and services designed to meet African realities. It is also an opportunity to put in the spotlight world-class solutions designed in Africa and which are ready to be marketed internationally ”, immediately announces Amrote Abdella, the regional director of Microsoft 4Afrika at the he initiative of the first edition of an unprecedented forum, held on February 2-3 in Nairobi, Kenya.
And if the choice fell on Nairobi for this premiere, it is far from being a coincidence. Even less if the world leaders, including Microsoft but also Google, Facebook, Samsung, IBM and others, have established themselves in Kenya. But because the land of safaris is now experiencing another source of attractiveness, new technologies booming in a country that is positioning itself as the digital hub of Africa. Microsoft Regional Director 4Afrika explains: “The meeting place for technology and business leaders, Microsoft engineers, local developers and entrepreneurs. This allows them to discuss collaborative opportunities for the emergence of technology adapted to the local context. ”
Konza Technology City, showcase of Kenyan ambition
Showcase of this ambition, Konza Technology City. On a site of 2,000 hectares, located about sixty kilometers from the Kenyan capital, KTC is expected to see the emergence of the entire ecosystem during this year intended to establish Kenya as the continent’s digital hub. Namely, world leaders in the sector, researchers, academics and other promoters of innovation made in Kenya, and a multitude of start-ups destined to become not national champions, but international ones. A flagship project of the government’s Vision 2030 roadmap, whose vocation is to make the country an emerging nation by 2030, KTC must create 20,000 jobs in five years, more than 200,000 in the long term.
Konza city is also called “Silicon Savannah”. © http://www.konzacity.go.ke/
Renamed “Silicon Savannah” – because it was born in the middle of the savannah -, it represents a budget of over 10 billion dollars, mainly financed by private partners attracted by tax gifts and other incentives … But also by an already attractive country in the field, first for its penetration rate, which rose from a little over 60% in 2012 to over 80% today, almost 100% among 15-64 year olds! One of the engines of economic development in the country, growing over 6% this year, where 18 million consumers use their mobile phones to deposit, transfer money or pay bills. A mobile that also drains 90% of bank loans.
Made In Kenya
Enough to let Sheilah Birgen say: “We are already Africa’s digital hub. “CEO of mLab Est Africa, a business incubator located in the iHub bulding, the Mecca of technological innovation made in Kenya. Established within the Bishop Magua Center in Nairobi, the iHub, created in March 2010, aims to be a catalyst for the Kenyan technological community, welcoming among others iHub Research, m: lab, Consulting, UX Lab… “We do not we don’t need to wait for Konza, because iHub already offers this ecosystem, it is already the showcase of Kenyan potential in terms of Ntic! Sheilah assures us. M pesa created momentum: young people want to create equivalent products. For example, Uber has barely arrived when we already have a competing app. And that’s why I chose to work in this industry, as with many young people, I’m sure it’s the fastest growing industry. I have two passions, youth entrepreneurship and Ntic. And as often with young people, I find that things are not moving fast enough in the country, the continent … But with the Ntic, it’s the opposite, everything goes so fast! And in a country where unemployment affects 40% of the working population, primarily young people (70%), the sector offers a real alternative.
Silicon Savannah is more than 250 startups, incubators, accelerators, institutions or universities. © DR
“Even if not all start-ups are going to last, the use of new technologies will allow them to access other jobs, as a consultant for example. All companies today, all sectors use new technologies. That’s why we encourage young people to learn it. »M Lab, which offers several training programs for Ntic, thus trained 500 entrepreneurs between 2011 and 2014. And out of 32 incubated companies, 80% still exist! Same success at Akirachix, another incubator, this time dedicated to women, also based at iHub, created in 2010. “We receive different types of profiles, women who have just graduated who want to work in the Ntic sector or others, already in place and who want to train or improve, explains Marie Githinji, co-founder of Akirachix. Not all of them will become a programmer, but it is a matter of convincing them that new technologies offer them new possibilities. Out of 22 women trained, 75% found a job or created an activity. And to give more impact to their initiative, Akirachix organizes an annual conference, Women in Tech in Africa. The next edition will be held in November. Always in Nairobi, a new center of gravity for geek girls on the continent… and well beyond!
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