Dynamics of the Startup ecosystem in Africa

Understanding the Startup ecosystem

Source : Roland Berger

The African continent is undergoing a major economic and social transformation phase


of the population is between 10 and 24 years old.


The working-age population in Sub-Saharan Africa will increase by a factor of 2.5 by 2050.


An increasing urbanization of 4% per year.


million smartphone users in 2020.


million Facebook users.


African countries among the top 20 fastest growing countries in 2015.

Source : ONU, World Bank, Roland Berger

Internet penetration of e-commerce is set to increase significantly in the coming years

Internet contribution to GDP
Africa, Md $, 2013-2025
E-commerce in Africa
Md $, 2014-2025
Source : MGI, Roland Berger

Development of the Start-up ecosystem

Comparison of the number of startups between different countries 2015
  • 3
  • 8
  • 25
  • 12
  • 34
  • 34
  • 38
  • 45
Source : Oxford Business Group, Expert interviews, Roland Berger

Startups created over the period 2000-2015

Main groups of countries in terms of development of the start-up ecosystem

  • 74 % Leaders from East and South Africa

    Mainly English-speaking countries, leaders in terms of dynamism in startup creation and ecosystem development (e.g. Crowdfunding, mobile-Payment development).

  • 14 % North African locomotives

    Countries closer culturally to the countries of Europe and the Middle East tend to create startups favoured by a higher level of human and technological development, and a higher rate of urbanization than the rest of the continent.

  • 6 % New actors from West Africa

    New actors from West Africa French-speaking countries (except Ghana) with a recent dynamic in the startup sector with an impact on the whole region.

  • 6 % Rest of Africa

    Countries with a predominantly rural population, low levels of human development and weak ICT infrastructure.

Source : Crunchbase, Roland Berger
  • Start-up performances are relatively high in the leading countries of English-speaking Africa, followed by West African countries.

  • Currently, only 2 companies (AIG (a company initiated by Rocket Internet, notably holding Jumia) and Interswitch (Nigeria)) can be considered as unicorns (valuation close to USD 1 billion) at the continental level.

(1) (1) Projection methodology
  • > Private consumption is modelled through different penetration rates, device lifetime and mobile income share in selected industries
  • > Public spending on the Internet is assumed to reach that observed in South Africa (2012) and is adjusted for inflation (4%)
  • > Private investment is deducted by correlation with private consumption
  • > The evolution of the trade balance will be mainly affected by exports of BPO services (business process outsourcing)
  • > An activity supported by 5 countries (Morocco, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa) and estimated by projecting historical growth rates