M a r k e t N e w s

Building Industrialization on the hub of tech Investment

Posted on : Friday, 26th December 2014

 For many African countries, which all too often suffer from infrastructure problems such as power outages and unreliable or expensive internet access, tech hubs have proven to be a boon over the last five years or so.

 
The continent currently plays host to more than 90 of these home-grown centres, with more than half of all African states housing at least one, according to Tim Kelly, lead ICT policy specialist with the World Bank’s ICT sector department.
 
While the hubs themselves vary considerably in their size, ambitions and business models, examples range from business incubators such as South Africa’s Smart Xchange to the more common physical co-working spaces provided by Uganda’s Hive CoLab.
 
Kenya’s iHub, which was named Africa’s most innovative firm and the 38th most innovative organisation in the world by Fast Company earlier this year, sits somewhere in-between.
 
As to why these organisations are set up in the first place, Tayo Akinyemi, director of AfriLabs, an umbrella body for tech hubs across Africa, says that there are two key reasons beyond the desire for a co-working space for networking purposes.
 
One is simply to try and create a more formal, organised community where none exists. The other is when policy-makers or respected entrepreneurs decide to bring stakeholders from the public and private sectors together in a bid to fill in holes in the country’s technology landscape.
 
Examples here include CTIC Dakar, which is an incubator for French-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa and was set up three years ago in Senegal.
 
As to the benefits that hubs bring to local tech communities, Akinyemi believes:
 
If economic development is the end goal, arguably a path to that is engaging in global technical innovation in the knowledge economy. But what is difficult for Africa is the lack of infrastructure, so hubs serve as part of that. They can’t provide everything, but what they can offer is a physical space to access power, the internet and people. They provide the basic tools to help people get businesses off the ground and be innovative.
 
AfriLabs’ objective, meanwhile, is to underpin this technological innovation by enabling tech hubs in different countries to work together more effectively, attract outside investors more easily, and also learn from each other.

Source : diginomica.com
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