If a few years ago the word “startups” was foreign to the African continent, today it makes sense and even tends to become legion. With the rise of new technologies in Africa and the democratization of access to them and training on digital, more and more young Africans are pushing the doors of entrepreneurship and manage to develop solutions that want to local, but also addressing more global issues.
Start-ups are emerging and emancipating everywhere in Africa. Many initiatives are emerging in the fields of computers, agriculture, commerce, education, health, the environment, renewable energies, etc. Even if creating a startup in Africa remains complex, it is still a real opportunity because the market is huge, because of the digitalization of different countries but also their potential
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In addition, many incubators are present to facilitate the process and assist entrepreneurs to develop more easily. Today, many African startups are known worldwide and seek to rub the big global entities. These tend to become more and more efficient thanks to the support of structures like Afric’innov which manages to give the tools and the framework which allows these incubators to have the role of creator of successful startups, with the aim to discover the next unicorns.
Startups serving Africa and Africans
Africa today has many startups who are all committed to the development of the continent. They all operate in different sectors (e-commerce, media, mobile payment, media, fashion, etc.) with a militant approach to overcome or overcome the shortcomings that still exists in Africa. The desire to come to the aid of the African populations is their engine.
Most of them are young (two to three years of existence) with limited funds and thirty-year-old leaders, but they manage to stand out and innovate in their sector. Through several forums, conferences and startup contests in Africa, they are able to show themselves in the eyes of the world and export outside the African continent, to the point where some of them become world references in their sector.
Among the African startups that caused a sensation in 2018, there are several in the digital sector some of which are sponsored by Google, like Teheca who wants to be an Uber medical care in Uganda. Specifically, this is a medical application set up in Kampala in 2015 by Daniel Ruyonga and Asha Namugambe to connect families of patients with health professionals without going through the health authorities. Other African digital startups include Africa Internet Group which brings together Jumia, Carmudi, Kaymu and has achieved significant success to eclipse international online trading platforms.
We can also mention the mobile bank Wizzit or Obami, a learning platform in South Africa, the Cardiopad created by a young Cameroonian for the purpose of saving lives, Harass Map that helps people who are victims of sexual harassment in Egypt , M-Pedigree which is a cell phone that fights the scourge of fake medicines on the continent, BRCK which allows to connect to any place on the planet, etc.
The competitiveness of African startups vis-à-vis others
In recent years, the economic development of some countries and the emergence of others have contributed significantly to the development of the continent. On the other hand, the novelty is that, in addition to having an impact on the employment and the development of a new category of entrepreneurs, these startups are no longer afraid to compete with world markets and even claim their legitimacy. Moreover, many incubators in the four corners of the continent allow young entrepreneurs to carry out projects with a global reach and no longer only continental. When we take the case of Kudobuzz, this company has managed to shine on the international scene, this application has even been chosen among the 11 best applications for social networks by Shopify. Today, it is a startup that manages to elbow with international firms.
African startups are no longer content with the local level, they are gradually getting international contracts and proving their values in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Startups that remain subject to several problems
Like any startup, financing remains one of the main problems to be solved. Despite encouraging development, the funding problem is preventing some good ideas from coming into existence. In the digital world, for example, many young African entrepreneurs are brimming over with ideas to get Africa’s digital revolution going, but very few will succeed in creating and developing a startup worthy of the name. quality support or seed money.
In addition to financing problems, it is also necessary to add the lack of support from the government authorities, which can not always put in place the infrastructures that would help support the development of these promising start-ups. Some countries like Senegal have begun an interesting transition, aiming to put startups in good shape. To have a sufficient impact, this type of initiative must become widespread on the continent.
To conclude, African startups have many challenges to overcome. There is no doubt that the African continent represents the future and has great potential. The many technological and structural challenges represent a real opportunity for the continent’s most experienced entrepreneurs. To allow a faster development of the continent, it is hoped that joint work of different African states and startupers to pull in the same direction. Africa needs it but is it possible to do it?