Workshop: Sustaining Innovation and Investment in North African Tech Hubs
Amazon’s 2017 acquisition of Souq drew global attention to the thriving startup climate in the Middle East and North Africa. Tech hubs and accelerators are fostering entrepreneurship in the region. After years of political turmoil, investment is returning to Egypt, Morocco and other North African countries. Tech hubs today are efficient vehicles not only to attract capital and expertise but to lead the conversation around technology and progress. A recent GSMA study revealed that the number of active tech hubs across Africa has grown by over 50% since 2016, with 442 hubs now active on the continent and a dozen more due to launch in early 2018. But much of this success has come despite the lack of an enabling environment or reformist legislation. Increasingly, governments in North Africa are beginning to focus on how to boost fledgling ecosystems. With a newly passed Start-up Act, Tunisia appears to be taking the lead in this regard. Over 50% of all hubs resort to public or corporate partnerships. The increase in partnerships between mobile operators and start-ups is due to an increasing acknowledgement of the mutual perks the parties can benefit from. Mobile operators provide the means to scale and to access a ready-available market; start-ups offer the innovative element and adaptable business models. This session will explore the tech hub scene in North Africa, highlighting how you can take advantage of the opportunities for investment.