News Technology

How African tech startups can compete globally, by experts

African tech startups are on the rise, attracting more funding and attention from global investors and partners. However, they also face many challenges and obstacles that hinder their growth and sustainability. Experts from various fields and sectors share their insights and advice on how African tech startups can compete globally and overcome the barriers they face.

The importance of innovation and differentiation

One of the key factors that determine the success of any tech startup is innovation. Innovation means creating new solutions or improving existing ones to meet the needs and demands of customers and markets. Innovation also means differentiating oneself from the competitors and offering unique value propositions.

According to The Nation Newspaper, experts from the Africa Tech Summit, which took place in London on October 11, 2023, emphasized the importance of innovation and differentiation for African tech startups. They said that African tech startups should focus on solving local problems with global relevance, leveraging their deep understanding of the context and culture of their target markets. They also said that African tech startups should not copy or imitate what works elsewhere, but rather create their own solutions that are tailored to their specific needs and challenges.

Some examples of innovative and differentiated African tech startups are:

  • Flutterwave, a fintech company that provides payment solutions for businesses across Africa and beyond. Flutterwave enables cross-border transactions, supports multiple currencies and payment methods, and integrates with various platforms and services.
  • [54gene], a healthtech company that aims to unlock the potential of African genomic data for research and development. 54gene collects, analyzes, and stores genetic data from African populations, which are underrepresented in global genomic databases, and provides insights for drug discovery and personalized medicine.
  • [mPharma], a healthtech company that manages the supply chain and delivery of medicines for pharmacies and patients in Africa. mPharma connects pharmacies with a network of suppliers, ensures quality control and affordability of drugs, and offers data-driven services such as inventory management, loyalty programs, and telemedicine.

How African tech startups can compete globally, by experts

The need for collaboration and partnership

Another factor that influences the performance of tech startups is collaboration. Collaboration means working with other stakeholders, such as customers, investors, mentors, peers, regulators, and partners, to achieve common goals and mutual benefits. Collaboration also means leveraging the resources, expertise, and networks of others to enhance one’s capabilities and reach.

According to The Nation Newspaper, experts from the Africa Tech Summit highlighted the need for collaboration and partnership for African tech startups. They said that African tech startups should seek to collaborate with each other, as well as with other players in the ecosystem, such as accelerators, incubators, hubs, universities, corporates, governments, and international organizations. They also said that African tech startups should seek to partner with global players who can provide access to markets, capital, technology, talent, and mentorship.

Some examples of collaborative and partnership initiatives for African tech startups are:

  • [AfriLabs], a network of over 260 innovation hubs across 49 African countries. AfriLabs supports the growth and development of tech startups by providing them with opportunities for networking, learning, funding, exposure, and advocacy.
  • [Google for Startups Accelerator Africa], a program that provides selected African tech startups with mentorship, training, technical support, and access to Google’s products and resources. Google for Startups Accelerator Africa also connects the startups with Google experts and partners from around the world.
  • [MEST Africa], a pan-African training program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge to build successful tech businesses. MEST Africa also provides seed funding, incubation support, and access to a network of mentors and investors.

The challenge of scaling up and sustaining

A final factor that affects the outcome of tech startups is scaling up. Scaling up means expanding one’s operations, customer base, revenue streams, impact, and influence beyond one’s initial market or region. Scaling up also means adapting one’s products or services to different contexts or segments while maintaining quality and efficiency.

According to The Nation Newspaper, experts from the Africa Tech Summit discussed the challenge of scaling up and sustaining for African tech startups. They said that African tech startups face many barriers to scaling up, such as lack of infrastructure, regulatory hurdles, market fragmentation, talent shortage, funding gap, cultural diversity, and competition. They also said that African tech startups need to adopt strategies to overcome these barriers, such as building scalable business models, optimizing processes and systems, diversifying revenue sources, securing long-term funding, hiring and retaining talent, complying with regulations, understanding customer needs, and creating value propositions.

Some examples of scalable and sustainable African tech startups are:

  • [Jumia], an e-commerce platform that operates in 14 African countries. Jumia offers a variety of products and services, such as online shopping, food delivery, travel booking, classifieds, and digital payments. Jumia has over 6.8 million active customers and over 110,000 sellers on its platform.
  • [Andela], a talent marketplace that connects African software developers with global companies. Andela provides training, mentorship, and career development for its developers, as well as project management and quality assurance for its clients. Andela has over 1,500 developers and over 200 clients in its network.
  • [Zipline], a drone delivery service that delivers medical supplies to remote areas in Africa. Zipline uses autonomous drones to transport blood, vaccines, and other essential items to health facilities in Rwanda and Ghana. Zipline has delivered over 150,000 medical products to over 2,500 health facilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *