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South Africa received the bulk of investment into Africa's ICT industry

South Africa received the bulk of investment into Africa's ICT industry

South Africa has come out ahead of its counterparts on the continent as the top destination for ICT investors based on the number of deals as well as the total amount of funding. The Disrupt Africa African Tech Startups Funding Report 2016 reveals that the country attracted the biggest share of investment followed by Nigeria, while Kenya and Egypt secured third and fourth place.

The latest report, the second one in as many years from Disrupt Africa, contains information on funding activity in eight African countries in total, as well as comparative analysis of the ecosystem in 2016 to the previous year.

"African tech startups raised funding in excess of US$129 million in 2016, with the number of startups securing funding up by 16.8 percent compared to the previous year," according to the report's findings.

Sector-specific research in the report also shows that the FinTech sector received the most funding across the continent while the agri-tech sector saw the biggest percentage growth compared to 2015.

Investment supports development goals

Ahead of the release of Disrupt Africa's report, Siyabonga Cwele, South Africa's Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services told the country's parliament last week that investment by the ICT sector is helping the country to achieve development targets in the years leading up to 2030, as set down in its National Development Plan (NDP).

"What has been done towards NDP targets? The CSIR reports that in the last three years the ICT industry has invested R78 billion in infrastructure. The country has already started to see benefits of this accelerated investment, where the Network Readiness Index and usage improved. This, and other measures driven by our government, has helped to steadily push up the WEF Global Competitive Index from 56 in 2014 to 47 in 2016 out of 140 participating countries."

Cwele says the NDP calls for an urgent need to review policy to improve access through competition in services, fast-tracking of local loop unbundling; urgent availability of spectrum for next-generation services as well as the provision of low-cost high-speed internet bandwidth.

"By 2020 it calls for universal broadband penetration at minimum speeds of 2Mbps. Post 2020 it calls for multi-stakeholder collaboration in innovation, local content, multimedia as well as in software and applications development."

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