Venture capital (VC) and private equity investors are banking on an African tech boom over the next three years, with the continent’s start-up ecosystem expanding rapidly, newresearch* for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows.
The global study found nearly six out of 10 (59%) predict growth of 50% or more with around one in five (18%) expecting the sector to expand by 75% or more during the period.
Improvements in the business environment in Africa will be the key driver, the study with senior VC and private equity executives across the UK, US, the Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, and Germanyfound.
More than half (54%) of thosequestioned believe the business environment on the continent is improving, while 41% point to greater geo-political stability and 36% say the ongoing expansion of internet connectivity will support a tech boom.
More than half (55%) believe that will lead to Africa becoming a tech superpower within 10 years while 39% believe the continent will achieve that status within 10 to 20 years.
World Mobile is one of the major innovators revolutionising internet connectivity in Africa and working with the government in Zanzibar. Its innovative solution includes launching a unique hybrid mobile network delivering connectivity supported by aerostats backed up with a range of technologies including mesh networking, hybrid spectrum, renewable energy, and blockchain. It plans to expand the network throughout the continent and is in discussions with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators.
Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said: “Private capital investment in Africa hit a record high of $7.4 billion last year as venture capital and private equity investors poured money into projects and investment funds.
“Technology is a key area for start-ups and there is increased confidence in rapid growth with a majority of investors expecting a 50% increase in just three years. Governments in the continent are focused on supporting private businesses and political stability is also important.
“But the importance of internet connectivity is growing,particularly for areas where delivering affordable and reliable connectivity remains an issue. World Mobile’s network based on the sharing economy sells affordable network nodes to local business owners, so they have the power to connect themselves and others while sharing the rewards. This will enable more people to access the opportunities that internet connectivity creates.”
World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, offering a more cost-effective way to provide a digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly 3 billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs.
World Mobile’s hybrid network takes a more sustainable approach than that of legacy mobile operators, offering innovative solutions to environmental, social and governance concerns. By using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries and energy-efficient technology, the network mitigates its environmental impact. World Mobile also facilitates positive and sustainable societal growth through the application of its “sharing economy”, where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network.