Kenya: One of Africa’s leading tech hubs

Silicon Savannah

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What other confirmation does anyone need to affirm the status of Kenya as one of the biggest tech names on the continent than the title, “Silicon Savannah?” To be nicknamed after the biggest tech name on the planet (Silicon Valley) is a testament to the fact that Kenya has, indeed, evolved into a major African tech hub.

Kenya wasn’t always the home of African tech.

Back in 2010, when the influential tech blogger and Harvard researcher Ethan Zuckerman declared Kenya the next big name in global technology, people across the continent taught he had his facts wrong. With other giant names like South Africa leading the continent at the time, it was hard to see Kenya as anything more than the tourism powerhouse it used to be.

But according to Zuckerman, “Kenya matters because it’s one of the places where the future of technology is coming into focus, where a generation of creative people are building the future, one experiment at a time.”

Fast-forward to a couple of years later, not only is Kenya living up to the proclamation of Zuckerman, but the country is already leading the rest of the continent in terms of telecom infrastructure, communications development, AI dynamics, amid several other technological advancements.

Major strides are being recorded.

Boosted by the emergence of willing investors, tech-driven government policies, and low barriers to entry for everyone, Kenya has been able to evolve into one of Africa’s tech powerhouses. And this evolution is reflected in the growing number of technological innovations and products hitting the Kenyan market e.g., M-Farm and iCow.

But within Kenya isn’t the only place the country’s emerging tech growth is taking hold. With the existence of brands like Cellulant, Kenya has also created its own pan-African presence, spreading its tentacles into other African countries.

What the outside world thinks

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt predicted that Nairobi could become the African tech leader. And to confirm his faith in Kenya’s tech growth, Google – just like other tech giants such as Cisco Systems, Intel, StarTimes Kenya, Nokia, and Microsoft – founded their hub in the city of Nairobi to expand their business operations in the city.

The establishment of Africa’s own IBM lab – one of the biggest global research hubs where researchers cross-pollinate ideas that lead to major breakthroughs – in Kenya is another good point scored by the country. Although Africa-focused, IBM was built in Nairobi, and its partnership with the Kenyan government is seen as a clear vote of confidence in the country’s ICT sector.

Internet technology in Kenya

No discussion of technology is ever complete without a mention of internet technology. And in the case of Africa, Kenya is again one of the biggest users of this form of technology.

According to a 2019 report by Statista, it was revealed that Kenya is the third-highest consumer of internet tech in Africa, with 46.87 million users – a pretty impressive figure, when you consider that the country’s population is only slightly above 52 million.

If you put that into percentages, that’s a whopping 89.77% of the country’s population!

Thanks to its impressive internet consumption numbers, the latest world internet users’ statistics has placed Kenya on top of Africa’s internet data billing and the world’s second-highest after North America.

Due to the massive number of internet users in the country, there’s a huge demand for internet service provision in Kenya. To cater to this growing demand, all the internet service providers in Kenya are regularly designing means to satisfy users, and also get above the competitions. The better the internet service you can provide, the more revenue your company can walk away with.

It’s as simple as that!

The physical manifestation of Kenya’s rising tech dominance

For a country to lay claim to the title of one of the biggest tech hubs on a continent, there has to be a physical manifestation of tech presence in such a country. In Kenya’s case, there are lots of tech manifestations around to affirm their status.

A joint report by the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator program and Briter Bridges identifies 618 active tech hubs across the continent. GSMA said there were 442 active hubs on the continent in March 2018, which was up from 314 in 2016.

The report defines tech hubs as organizations with physical addresses, which offer support and facilities for tech entrepreneurs. As such, it includes incubators, accelerators, university-based innovation hubs, maker spaces, technology parks, and co-working spaces in its categorization.

Guess what?

Kenya alone has 48 active tech hubs. When you compare with the rest of the continent, that’s only behind traditional tech powerhouses Nigeria (85), South Africa (80), and Egypt (56).

With facts like these, there can be no denying Kenya’s rise to continental technology stardom.

Uday Tank has been working with writing challenged clients for several years. His educational background in family science and journalism has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys writing content after researching and analyzing different resources whether they are books, articles or online stuff.  


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