As the year 2018 is drawing to a close, the use & roll-out of smart technology in Africa, including North Africa, is reaching a high point.
Whilst the developed world is fiddling with technological solutions to propel humankind into a new stage of innovation advancement, Africa is often seen as a continent where smart technology has not yet taken flight. This is far from true: from Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) to Virtual Reality, 3D printing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Africa is on the forefront of the so-called fourth industrial revolution.
The reason is simple: internet prices and smartphone costs are falling whilst smartphone use is increasing. This and the urge of innovators to solve the continent's many social problems through technology. All of this is helping Africa's entrepreneurial arena grow, resulting in a rush in startup funding and tech investment. There are no signs of slowing down, with tech incubators and hubs like KivuHub and AfriLabs sprouting like mushrooms. North Africa is on track too, including Morocco and Somalia.
1) Morocco: promising technology hub
One country that is surprising - and satisfying - global investors, is Morocco. A quick look at the 2017 report on African tech startup funding by Partech Africa shows that Moroccan startups raised US$3.9 million over the course of last year. This ranks the Northern African nation ninth on the continent! This amount raised by Moroccan tech startups is four times higher than that of 2016, which shows great investment potential.
In a nutshell, Morocco is currently home to more than twenty-five tech incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces with more than half of these hubs situated in the country’s largest city, Casablanca. Among these, the African growth and development efforts made by organizations such as New Work Lab, Enacrus Morocco, Numa Casablanca, LaFactory, and H7 should be highlighted. The later was launched last year by Amine Al-Hazzaz, the former Special Advisor to the Minister of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Venture Capita. The organization intends to scale local as well as additional African ventures in the future.
2) Somalia: flourishing technology hub
On the 26th of October 2018, the first-ever Mogadishu Tech Summit took place in Somalia's capital. Different types of individuals from across the globe came together for this event, from young African entrepreneurs, students, government officials to potential international investors.
The Tech Summit was supported by the United Nations, The Federal Government of Somalia, and the city's very own local innovation hub, iRise. Functioning as a research center, a co-working space as well as an incubator and provider of stimulation services for startups, iRise is a counter-voice to most media reports on current events in Somalia, which usually focus on suffering and attacks.
iRise may have only been in business for a year, the company is creating waves across the country. Based in Mogadishu, the venture is cultivating an accelerating growth of startups across the nation. According to an interview with the founder of the tech startup, Yool Tech, Abdikhaliq Ahmed, “[Their] goal is a future where we will provide the technology-related services that people would have previously sought abroad”.
In conclusion, technology has become increasingly democratized and the rush to develop Northern Africa into a smart market is on track. African businesses are working towards serving their consumers' adapting needs and expectations. It is without a doubt that countries such as Morocco, Somalia, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt are making waves!