Africa's technology companies recorded 454 deals worth $1.19B in 2018

Today, we release our very first report - Digest Africa INDEX - which summarises the investment into Africa's early stage and technology companies for the year 2018. Below are the excerpts of the Executive Summary and the Methodology we used.

Please note that the report is available for purchase at $299 and $999 (with the data). Click here or visit to make the purchase.

Executive Summary

The Digest Africa Index highlights key trends, opportunities, and challenges in Africa’s technology landscape by focusing on funding and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals as well as the companies and investors behind them. We also highlight the critical funds that raised across the continent, who are putting money into them and how they have been or are likely to be deployed.

Last year recorded a whopping $1.19 billion in total deal value even though 103 deals - representing 22.7% of the total 454 deals recorded - never disclosed their amount. However, we also believe that the figure could have been higher than $1.19 billion had the values of certain deals been disclosed. Jumia and M-Kopa are among the companies that never disclosed their deal amounts.

Technology companies across Africa raised a total of $686.4 million in funding across 336 disclosed funding deals of the 415 recorded. The East African region, with $303.9 million which translated into 44.2% of the total funding raised, registered the highest amount. Amongst countries, Kenya, with 22.8% ($156.5M) of the total funding raised, recorded the highest while the financial services sector recorded the highest amount of funding raised on the continent with 92 deals representing $276.7 million.

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The financial services sector contributed 40.3% to the total funding raised across the continent in 2018. There were 39 M&A deals recorded in Africa’s technology space though only seven (7) of these were disclosed. South Africa registered the highest number of deals with twenty-four (24) and six (6) of the deals whose amounts were disclosed also came from the country. Compuscan, which Experian acquired for $263 million, and WeBuyCars that was acquired by Naspers for $94 million - through OLX Group - recorded the highest M&A deal values.

Lastly, a total of sixteen (16) technology-focused funds were raised adding up to $1.094 billion in value. 69.8% of the funds raised were early stage focused and 47.7% of them were sector agnostic. Naspers’ $314 million South Africa-focused fund was the largest fundraising/commitment recorded in 2018. European Investment Bank (EIB) was the most active investor on the continent participating in investments into five (5) funds: Partech Africa Fund managed by Partech Ventures ($70M), Novastar II managed by Novastar Ventures ($72.5M), Tide Africa Fund managed by TLcom Capital ($40M), Sawari Ventures North Africa Fund I managed by Sawari Ventures ($35M) and Africa Tech Ventures ($10M).


Digest Africa collects the data it uses for the INDEX report from press releases, reputable media companies, publicly available databases like Competition Authority of Tanzania and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as contacting companies and investors. When recording funding, we include debt/loans, grants/awards/prizes/non-equity assistance, venture capital, angel investment, initial coin offerings, crowdfunding and corporate funding. In this report, we attributed the acquisition by an African country of an overseas company to the country of the acquiring company (for now).

Please note that we only consider for-profit early-stage and technology companies that are either incorporated in Africa or headquartered in Africa. (We use the word technology to also denote companies with innovative business models like Jibu).

If a for-profit company is not headquartered on the continent, it should either have Africa as its primary or only market. Because of the above criteria, we did not include funding raised by companies like Branch ($20M), African Leadership Academy ($30.7M), iSON Xperiences ($51M), Tala ($65M), D.Light ($116M), Alten Africa ($36M) and others.

We classified all the companies under ten (10) sectors where most of the funding and M&A activity took place while all the others that fell under areas with insignificant activity are captured under Information Technology. The sector emerging technologies covers drones, the blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies that are just beginning to take off on the continent.

We divided the continent into five (5) regions; Central, East, North, Southern and West Africa. However, because there was not much activity in Central Africa, it was bundled with East Africa for analysis in certain instances. The full list of classification is at the end of the report in the Appendix section.

We also ensured that we allocated all deals that took place a stage/type (which you can find pointed out in the table in the report). We grouped all the funding stages into nine (9) categories with all pre-seed and seed rounds as well as all funding from accelerators and incubators classified under Seed. All non-equity financing in the form of grants, awards and prizes were categorised under grants. We classified all Series A and Series B rounds under Early Venture, and any deal that was Series C and above fell under Late Venture.

Important to note is that we only considered deals amounting to $10,000 or more and all values presented in other currencies other than US dollar (USD) were translated into USD using Bloomberg's Currency Converter or recorded based on the source if already translated into USD.

You can find our full methodology here or visit

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