Globally, tech innovation has rapidly improved over the years, however, looking at the developments in Africa, 2016 was certainly a progressive year for us. From the smallest startups to rapid growth from the major players, Africa has eagerly embraced tech innovation. Our highlights of 2016?
The Top Dogs investing in Africa:
Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook has invested in the continent through the foundation Andela. Andela is an accelerator that recruits and trains software developers from Africa and connects them with employers globally.Through identifying young Africans with high-potential, the mentorship and training provided by Andela secures jobs for these qualified Africans globally.
IBM opened its research lab in Nairobi with the aim to develop cognitive cumputing in Africa. Many other companies have also started opening innovation and research such as SAP and Thomson Reuters.
2016 also saw the launch of the famous US-based entertainment streaming service, Netflix, which accelerated from 0-54 countries in one big swoop when it went live in January. Netflix definitely garnered quite an audience due to the fact that most Africans were fans of most of their programmes and series beforehand, which made Netflix a big threat to Multichoice’s digital satellite TV service, DSTV.
eBay entered the doors of African tech development as well in Nigeria and Kenya in July. The giant online marketplace will be expanding to 11 more countires this year, including Angola, Botswana, and Tanzania.
The continent continues to gain international investments and is forming homegrown tech investment funds. As part of its $30 million Startup Catalyst Initiative, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) also flagged more investment for African startups in 2016. While the iHub incubator in Kenya announced the launch of its new Africa Innovation Fund for startups as well.
Attracting such crucial investments for the tech scene in a continent which hardly knew what the internet was a decade ago made 2016 a good year for us. Though Africa has yet to produce more innovative startups and gain more investments globally, we hope 2017 is as prosperous as the previous years if not more.