Technology is present in almost all sectors of activity in Africa. The continent is in the right train of the digital revolution. A potential which should not stop growing given the good prospects for free trade. According to the figures, economic output is expected to increase by $29 trillion by 2050. Technology will play a vital role in this. However, despite this dynamism, Africa represents only 0.2% of the value of global startups. According to a diagnosis by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, i4Policy and the Smart Africa Alliance, “fragmented markets and weak connections between stakeholders are among the challenges hindering technological growth. A startup system can only thrive when entrepreneurs have the support they need, funding for expansion, and access to shared learning. Strong links between policymakers, entrepreneurs and the private sector are essential. To help Africa realize its enormous potential, the continent needs a pan-African startup community, a network to support and strengthen the connections essential to strengthening its thriving tech startup ecosystem.”
Pan-African Working Group
The challenge is daunting, but within reach. The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, i4Policy and the Smart Africa Alliance have decided to set up a pan-African policy working group. “This group aims to create a community among stakeholders in the African startup ecosystem, placing the continent’s technological future in the hands of Africans and maximizing the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” a note said.
Led by 35 African countries and in collaboration with policymakers and the tech startup community, the Pan-African Policy Working Group provides a peer-to-peer learning platform that brings together relevant stakeholders to learn more and co-develop policies which strengthen startup ecosystems across the continent. Specifically, the working group is a means to foster coordinated collaboration, lasting impact, and evidence-based learning.
Facilitate partnerships and connect policy makers with relevant organizations
In a study, Microsoft indicated the importance for startups to come together around an ecosystem. “A business alone cannot succeed. It must be supported by a whole network of other companies who collaborate with it in order to help it design solutions adapted to the market and the expectations of its customers,” said the study. An Accenture report goes in the same direction, indicating that “the ecosystem must always keep its start-ups at the center, but financial institutions and government partners must always be sufficiently involved so that their synergies can produce an economic impact that is truly inclusive and sustainable.” These are all benefits that the Pan-African working group wants to synergize, providing the opportunity to bring together and amplify the points of view of startups and stakeholders who support their development by acting as a means of influencing directly policies with a lasting impact.
“The working group provides a peer-to-peer learning opportunity, through which policymakers from ecosystems at different stages of development can share experiences while striving to understand how best to develop effective policies. Knowledge sharing, including key lessons and success factors, will create an evidence base providing decision-makers with the peer-to-peer learning they need to adapt and implement policies in their respective countries. note. Since its launch in December 2022, the working group has brought together African technological change actors from 20 countries, paving the way for a new era of knowledge sharing and collaborative, action-oriented policymaking.