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International investors are hot on Africa’s potential

By , Africa editor
Africa , 24 Apr 2024
Africa's anticipated economic development will outperform global growth rates this year.
Africa's anticipated economic development will outperform global growth rates this year.

Despite the fact that the continent witnessed a 28% reduction in capital investments in 2023, there are investors that are optimistic about and willing to invest in start-ups in Africa.

This is according to equity funders who met in Johannesburg yesterday. They predicted that, despite a dip in start-up financing to $2.4 billion in 2023, Africa's anticipated economic development will outperform global growth rates this year.

A summit co-hosted by African Venture Capital Association (AVCA), AWS Startups, Silicon Overdrive, and Methys brought together key participants from the continent's start-up scene. The summit was held alongside the annual AVCA conference and Venture Capital Summit.

Conversations throughout the event showed that Africa holds promise, especially as investors begin to recognise that the continent is leading the charge in developing innovative solutions in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zinhle Mncube, head of business and partnerships at 22 On Sloane, Africa’s largest startup campus, shared how the institution is dedicated to “building an ecosystem in Africa, structuring and putting together capacity building programmes aimed at ensuring we have an integrated, harmonised ecosystem.”

AfricArena CEO and co-founder Christophe Viarnaud, said that since AfricArena’s formation in 2017, the network has grown and through its startups, raised over $800 million in funds.

He said AfricArena is “an opportunity for founders to connect with investors, and we make sure founders convert these opportunities and investors find the right founders for their mandates”.

Kevin Simmons, general partner at Lofty Inc Capital, said it is time to talk about Africa’s “growing role as a global leader in innovation, technology and business”.

He said: “Many people share a common vision for African technology, business and innovation and imagine a similar future.”

Simmons urged participants to learn from his mistakes of failed leadership and speak up because “Africa needs loud leadership” to help people navigate the way forward. “Leadership is not a position, it is a posture, and when we are called to lead, we must lead despite the nerves,” he said.

Africa’s leadership on the technology, business and innovation frontier is important, said Simmons, because there is fast coming a time where “the software developed by African developers and engineers powers the majority of systems in major global corporations”.

Dr Bienvenu Agobokponto Soglo, director of government affairs and IGA CTO Liaison at Intel said: “Technology is increasingly central to every aspect of human existence.”

He added that Intel is focused on enabling start-ups across the continent to drive innovation and leadership and helping people to close the digital divide, particularly in the deep tech sector which focuses on “solutions based on scientific discoveries and enable us to solve complex problems”.

Andreata Muforo, partner at TLcom Capital said her firm had successfully closed its second early-stage fund at $154 million.

She added: “Don’t expand outside of your country before you find product-market fit. Be curious and have a dose of humility; you need to understand the market to create a product that fits them.”

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