Africa’s Next Big Thing Will Be Its Tech Startups, Says Prolific Investor
Changing the continent’s narrative will entail solving old problems while also harnessing the power of new technologies, says Akintoye Akindele, a serial entrepreneur and investor on a mission to build a new Africa.
Akindele is also the chairman of Platform Capital, a venture capital outfit that invests in tech companies across the world, but mostly in Africa. In May 2022, Platform Capital announced an investment in Zuri Health, a company that connects patients with affordable healthcare services via SMS, WhatsApp, and a dedicated app.
Speaking ahead of receiving the African Business Leader of the Year Award 2022 at the UK’s House of Lords on Monday, Akindele told CNN the next big thing out of the continent will be the tech industry.
Africa’s tech landscape is increasingly attracting attention — and funding. Between 2015 and 2021, total annual funding flowing into African tech startups has grown by 1,000 percent, according to the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2021.
And according to the report, 125 tech startups in Africa raised $185 million in funding in 2015, but in 2021, 564 startups raised $2.1 billion.
In early June 2022, it was announced that an African fintech company MFS Africa acquired Oklahoma-based Global Technology Partners for $34 million — a move that Financial Times described as “a rare case of an African group doing a tech deal in the U.S.”
“I think an era is coming when African fintech companies will buy global financial institutions, forming a marriage, because by solving cash problems on the continent, they are [also] solving global cash problems,” Akindele told CNN.
“We are not left behind in any way,” Akindele said. “We fundamentally believe that the youth and the old of Africa can work together to build a new Africa.”
He noted that the “older guys” know how to build heavy industry infrastructure while the “newer guys” know how to build agile businesses. And as well as solving longstanding problems of food, infrastructure, energy, and transport, “we then match them with payments, robotics, health tech, and others. Africa will be able to create a world where it can determine its own future.”