What did we learn?

A panel discussion during the African Tech Hub’s gathering in Johannesburg. Image: Tshepo Tshabalala

The ecosystem of support for start-ups in Africa — incubators, co-working spaces, investment networks and training institutions — is dynamic. One of our participants was Isabella Hayward from the World Bank’s Nairobi office and she was kept busy in the breaks gathering information to update the Bank’s widely cited map of African Tech Hubs. My Wits colleague Luci Abrahams, who also participated, has documented forty eight in South Africa alone. While there is growth there are also severe challenges. High rental costs and problems in making co-working spaces financially sustainable have led to closures as well as new openings.

Andile Masuku facilitating a session at the African Tech Hub gathering in Johannesburg in 2018. Picture: Tshabalala

What next?

There are some big questions about the future roles of tech hubs and incubation and acceleration programmes. As the tech landscapes in Africa change, so tech hubs need to respond and predicting and understanding those changes is challenging. As the sector grows we may also need to develop better ways of understanding and measuring our own impacts.

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