Africa and Europe to connect at Africa Tech Summit London

By Polycarp Kazaresam

The rapid expansion of mobile and internet penetration across Africa is providing global opportunities for tech ventures that previously did not exist. International investors will connect with industry leaders from across the continent at Africa Tech Summit London on April 20th to drive business and investment forward.

Over the next five years, 168 million new mobile subscribers will be connected across Africa, reaching 725 million by 2020 (GSMA). From artificial intelligence (AI) to hardware, transport to mobile education, tech is changing Africa rapidly. It was therefore no surprise that Mark Zuckerberg finally made a highly publicised visit to Nigeria and Kenya last year, opening global eyes to the rapidly growing tech scene.

Local and international players have been busy, long before Zuckerburg touched down in Africa. Uber is now currently available in 15 African cities across 8 countries, with Cairo being the fastest growing city in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). The scale of adoption in Africa means “Cairo could overtake London and Paris in terms of trip numbers in the next year or so” according to Uber's head of operations for EMEA, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty. This has spurred indigenous ventures such as Safaricom, the largest telecoms operator in Kenya, to innovate and launch a competing ride-sharing service called Little Cab. Meanwhile, in South Africa, a start-up named Taxify has also launched.

The fall in commodity and oil prices has resulted in a recession in Nigeria and slowdown in South Africa. However, African countries are diversifying beyond commodities and 2016 saw increased levels of investment in the technology sector. This is a clear indication of a gear change and that serious international money is now investing in African tech. iROKOtv, the mobile entertainment group dubbed the Netflix of Africa, secured $19 million from investors including France’s Canal Plus, to produce original content and expand across the continent, bringing its total funding to about $40 million. Andela, a Nigerian company training developers, completed a $24 million Series B round led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, joining Google Ventures. Orange made a €75 million equity investment in the Africa Internet Group (AIG). This followed hot on the heels of AXA’s €75 million investment for an 8 percent stake in AIG. On the start-up front, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will provide up to $2 million in equity financing to Flat6Labs Cairo, which will invest in about 100 Egyptian tech start-ups over the next five years.

While the funding tide is slowly turning, there is still a distinct lack of local investment for many African tech ventures to scale and is a major hurdle faced by the ecosystem. International investment and exposure is therefore critical for ventures to scale, partner and grow. London sits at the confluence of international investment, banking, media and tech while a new wave of African focused ventures built by the diaspora call Europe home.

“Our vision for Africa Tech Summit London (ATSLDN) was simple, to bring together leading tech companies, investors, and entrepreneurs to explore key sectors, connect relevant stakeholders and drive investment and business between Africa and the rest of the world,” explains Andrew Fassnidge, Founder of Africa Tech Summit London.

“The positive response on last year’s inaugural event from leaders within the industry endorsed the need for such a platform in London. We are very excited to welcome back leading innovators, global investors, banks and mobile network operators from across Africa to connect in London for ATSLDN 2017, while also providing a platform for African ventures who want to expand globally,” he added.

The Summit is organised by Appsafrica.com and is supported by Linklaters LLP, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and VConnect. The event will feature over 30 speakers including Etisalat Nigeria, Safaricom Spark Fund, Orange, TechCrunch, IFC, RedCloud Technologies, EcoBank, VConnect, Draper Dark Flow, BitPesa, VC4Africa, Linklaters LLP, The Economist, Quartz Africa, TechCabal, Disrupt Africa, ABAN and other leading ventures will share insights on the mobile, fintech, consumer, media and investment opportunities across the continent.

To register please visit www.africatechsummit.com

 

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