Africa plays big in a list of top global startup ‘ecosystem contenders’

bird story agency Kenya June 17, 2024

by Conrad Onyango, bird story agency..

Africa has the potential to almost double its representation in a prestigious ranking of the world’s top 100 startup hubs as cities from its unranked countries control the list of top contenders to watch out for, according to a global index.

Currently, only 13 African countries feature in the Startup Blink’s Startup Ecosystem Report 2024, in a list that features South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya as Africa’s “big four” tech startup hubs.

Over the next one year, the index has listed Seychelles, Ethiopia, and Angola among 12 top contenders with highest chances of making a debut in the prestigious ranking of top 100 global tech hubs. Africa has the highest number in this list of 50 contenders.

The three are among, “countries with seed ecosystems that did not secure a place in the top 100 country rankings this year but have crossed a ranking threshold which allows us to signal them as well positioned contenders to make the cut next year,” said the index.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Index leverages thousands of data points processed by an algorithm that takes into account several dozen sets of parameters including funding raised, number of employees, and traction to evaluate startups worldwide.

“Victoria (Seychelles), ranked 219th globally, stands alone as the top ecosystem in the top cities 300 from an unranked nation. It is followed by Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Tehran (Iran) at 328th and 393rd, respectively, as the only other 2 cities in the top 400 of unranked countries, both registering impressive momentum compared to 2023,” according to the index.

Luanda (485th), Algiers (502nd) and Dar es Salaam (536th) were Africa cities leading the way in the top 600 ecosystems.

Somalia and Cameroon have been listed among non-top 100 countries that recorded multiple ranked cities.

“Somalia stands out as both of its ranked cities are positioned within the top 800 and exhibiting positive momentum, the only contender ecosystem to realize such an achievement…This shows the great potential of Somalia and diversity in the ecosystem,” said the index authors.

Somalia’s two cities are Mogadishu, ranked 633rd and Hergesia, ranked 762nd, Camerooon’s Younde is at 778th and Doula at 943rd positions.

Mogadishu has jumped 101 global spots, propelled by an ecosystem with a high concentration of software and data as well as energy and environment industry focused startups.

Other top contenders include Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mali, Ivory Coast and DR Congo.

South Africa (52nd) retained its lead position as Africa’s top startup ecosystem, powered by a significant rise in global ranking of its four cities. Pretoria had a massive increase of 333 spots, entering the top 500 at 426th, while Durban increases 268 spots to rank 547th. Johannesburg climbed 17 spots to rank 139th while Cape Town jumped eight spots to rank 128th globally.

A two-spot jump of Port Louis to 288th helped Mauritus (59) to retain its second slot in Africa and entering world’s top 60 for the first time.

While Kenya lost one spot to 63rd globally, Kisumu’s arrival in the global top 1,000 for the first time, helped the East African nation maintain its count of two ranked cities in the top 1,000, despite Mombasa dropping out. Nairobi is ranked at position 120 globally.

Nigeria, with six-city representation, maintained its position in the Index as the 64th ecosystem globally and 4th in Africa. Kano is the latest city to join the Index this year.

“All six Nigerian cities improved in the rankings.  Lagos jumped 12 spots to solidify its position among the global top 100 cities. Lagos is the strongest startup ecosystem in Nigeria, with a total score more than 15 times greater than Abuja, the 2nd ranked city, showing strong centralization,” read part of the index.

Egypt jumped from the 81st position to the 66th position thanks in large part to a significant 27 spot jump in Cairo’s rankings as it joined the global top 100 cities, and the entry of Alexandria into the index. 

Other African ecosystems that made it into the global rankings this year are Cape Verde (78), Senegal (86), Namibia (87), Ghana (88) Tunisia (90), Morocco (92), Uganda (95) and Rwanda (98).

After dropping out of the Index in 2022 Uganda experienced significant growth, driven by software and data provision that has pushed Kampala up 22 spots and subsequently helping the country climb one spot, surpassing Rwanda.


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