Africa’s tech hubs have emerged as a catalyst for growth. But there are still a few obstacles that prevent them from fully flourishing. These include cumbersome regulations and limited funding.
In order to overcome these hurdles, African governments should take the necessary policy measures. This will help open up markets and attract global funding inflows. It will also create opportunities for young people. Investing in new growth sectors will be vital to accelerate economic development in the region.
Tech innovation is critical to solving a number of development challenges. It can help improve education, food production, health care, and environmental protection. Technology can also transform government interactions. For instance, digitization can change anti-corruption policies. And it can provide much-needed employment on the continent.
As the digital age spreads into all facets of life in the region, technology hubs are growing. Some of these hubs are incubators, marketplaces, and hackerspaces. They offer support to startups, including mentorship and basic infrastructure. Most of these centers also provide social networking opportunities for tech entrepreneurs.
The first Africa-based tech hub, iHub, opened in Kenya in 2010. Over the years, iHub has launched more than 100 successful tech startups. iHub recently merged with CcHub, another tech hub in Nairobi.
Many of these tech hubs in Africa also provide investment networks and technical support. AfriLabs, for example, is a network of 320 tech hubs in 51 countries. The network offers business advisory services, legal assistance, basic connectivity, and corporate real estate.