There are countless initiatives aimed at developing tech hubs and other innovation centers in Africa. African start-ups are on the rise and the take-off is real. And to increase their efficiency, new technology companies are increasingly coming together in networks within Africa. To the point of forming a true continental ecosystem.
Africa has tens of thousands of start-ups and these companies are getting organized. There are already around fifty innovation centers, known as techvalleys, grouped together in a network. Sharing skills, experience, legal or management advice, this network called Afrilab supports more than 15,000 sub-Saharan companies. But money being the crux of the matter, another network, the African business angels network, was born to support investment. Guardian angels initiated by Cameroonian businesswoman Rebecca Enonchong.
“It’s a network to support start-ups financially,” she explains. We invest, it’s not a credit, it’s not a loan, it’s an investment. The sums are not very large, but they allow these start-ups to start. We support Africans who want to invest in Africans. “
Business networks will only be successful if the public authorities understand them. And this is the goal set by CIO MAG, a magazine devoted to African technology. Since the beginning of the year, it has been organizing a Digital African Tour, a tour of ten African capitals to improve communication between governments and businesses. Here again, a network of intersecting interests is developing.
“Ten African capitals where we bring together the main decision-makers, the main players in the digital ecosystem,” explains David Guèye, Director of Development. Because when we think digital, we immediately think of startups, we think of solution providers, but it is also governments, telecom regulators and training. Rectors, directors of universities. What are the courses to put in place to have efficient executives tomorrow? “
Support from multinationals
The global players in the digital economy are not mistaken. Thus, the American IBM is increasing its initiatives to support networks of African SMEs. One way to help while spotting the right opportunities.
“We make a Cloud platform available to all entrepreneurs to enable them to develop applications on IBM platforms,” explains Baba Zoumanigui, IBM director for French-speaking Africa. And we also have IBM professionals who take a month of their time to go to a country and help with efforts on a development mission. “
The efficiency of companies is multiplied by the links they forge between them. A vital strategy for African SMEs often weakened by a difficult economic environment.