Two of the most well-known tech hubs in Africa are joining forces after Lagos’ CcHub has bought iHUB in Nairobi.
The aim, says CcHUB chief executive officer ‘Bosun Tijani, is to “create a robust platform that’s capable of attracting the best resources and partnerships to accelerate the application of technology and innovation for economic prosperity across Africa”.
The iHub purchase follows CcHub’s launch of the Design Lab in Kigali earlier this year.
“We’d like to be able to improve the success rate of tech start-ups across the continent by being intentional about how we harness resources and know-how to support businesses to build and scale across the continent,” Tijani told me. “In addition, we’d like to accelerate our work with large corporates and government to apply technology within context to address some of the pressing business and social issues across Africa.”
He believes the combination of the two pivotal hubs in the two biggest countries in their respective regions will aid tech development. The iHUB will continue to “play a central role as a nexus point” in Nairobi but CcHub intends to create a strong alignment across its three locations, partner hubs and organisations within and outside of Africa to broaden the overall CcHUB goal of enabling technology innovation for economic prosperity.”
He says this will enable ccHub expand its work in STEM education, governance and public health to Kenya and East Africa.
CcHub and iHUB are arguably the two best known of Africa’s 618 active tech hubs, which have experienced “incredible growth” as they have rapidly expanded in recent years to become “the backbone of Africa’s tech ecosystem,” according to the GSMA.
This is a 40% leap over the 442 hubs the GSMA counted last year, while this ecosystem was “mainly boosted by a torrent of venture funds, development finance, corporate involvement, as well as ever-growing, innovative communities,” it said.
Strategic expansion has been a project CcHUB has been working on for the last three years. “This is why we are able to self-fund our expansion to both Kigali and Nairobi at this stage,” Tijani adds.
Before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a surprise visit to Nigeria in 2016 and visited CcHub as his first destination, most people outside of the Africa tech ecosystem would never have heard of the Nigeria incubator and coworking space.
“Our first stop is the Co-creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB) in Yaba,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. I got to talk to kids at a summer coding camp and entrepreneurs who come to CcHub to build and launch their apps. I’m looking forward to meeting more people here!” Zuckerberg wrote. He has 42-million followers on Facebook.
Yaba is in the capital Lagos and is considered the closest to a Silicon Valley, and is home to CcHUB, wrote on its Facebook page at the time: “We were Mark Zuckerberg’s FIRST STOP on his FIRST TRIP EVER to Sub-Saharan Africa. Can you beat that??? Awesome time hosting a genuine world changer…”
His comments came after meeting some local Kenyan entrepreneurs: “I’m starting at a place called iHub, where entrepreneurs can build and prototype their ideas. Two of the engineers I met – Fausto and Mark – designed a system to help people use mobile payments to buy small amounts of cooking gas, which is a lot safer and better for the environment than charcoal or kerosene.”
Tijani believes the tech environment in Africa will be strengthened by the purchase, which will get “the two most prolific start-up ecosystems in Africa closer”.
More specifically, he adds, “we are a big fan of the AfCFTA and this union will further serve our interest as Africa morph into a single market”
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is the largest free-trade in the world, spanning the African continent with its 1.2 billion people, and came into effect, on 30 May 2019, having been signed by 52 of the AU’s 55-member states. It aims to eradicate tariffs and create single market for a potential market worth $2.5 trillion.
“There’s a significant opportunity for us to leverage the distributed resources and know-how across the continent to accelerate how we apply technology and innovation for economic prosperity and we’d like to give leadership to such drive,” says Tijani.
Source : forbes.com
Keywords : Africa, News, Economy, Nigeria, Kenya, Tech hubs