There is a lot changing the African startup ecosystem. From funding to technology hubs. All key drivers of any startup ecosystem are changing, positively, in Africa. Yet, there's something many may not be taking note of. African startup ecosystem focused summits and conferences.
See also: Partech Ventures Launches Partech Africa, a $70M Africa focused VC Fund
Summit and conferences have become so common that one can rely on them to anecdotally conclude that the African Startup Ecosystem is headed for the best.
As one would expect, the leading ecosystems on the continent are leading the way. With South Africa (based on observation) having the highest number of summits.
Long before other ecosystems came up, the rainbow nation’s startup ecosystem was playing host to some of the "biggest" tech and startup summits and conferences across Africa.
This year, so far, Johannesburg, one of the country’s startup hubs has hosted the Blockchain Africa conference. With South Africa Innovation Summit, AfricaCom and Africa Early Stage Investor Summit set to happen in the country, later this year.
But, Nigeria and Kenya are also contributing a good deal. Lagos, Africa’s startup capital, is gearing itself for the TechFest. While, Abuja, Nigeria’s political capital, will host Nigeria Innovation Summit later this year. Andela’s Women in Tech Summit as well as Techpoint’s Build conference have already happened.
Nairobi, one of Africa’s tech hubs, has so far played host to a couple. This includes Sankalp Summit and Nairobi Innovation Week. The city’s first Innovation Week organized by the University of Nairobi.
Additionally, UK’s The Economist organized the Innovation Summit Africa earlier this year. The African Summit on Entrepreneurship and Innovation, ASENTI, will take place later in 2018.
In the North of Africa, Casablanca, Morocco, hosted the AfriKonnect 2018 conference which was to “connect North and Sub-saharan tech scenes.”
Additionally, the Annual African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, AVCA, the conference took place in Marrakesh, in April 2o18. The country will also host the Demo Africa conference for the years 2018 and 2019.
Egypt, which is among the leading tech ecosystems in Africa, hosts the annual Rise Up Summit by Wamda. As well as the Egypt Entrepreneurship Summit.
Looking at what others would regard as second-tier African startup ecosystems, in terms of investment and hubs, similar trends are noticed.
Rwanda has so far hosted two of the biggest summits on the continent. That’s both in the number of attendants and their quality.
Kigali, the nation's capital, has hosted the Africa Tech Summit, in February, and Transform Africa Summit. Which took place last week (May 7, 2018).
In June, Kigali will also host the Africa Innovation Summit. It’ll look to build onto what was discussed and agreed upon at the first and previous one in Cape Verde.
Last year, the city also hosted the Youth Connekt Africa Summit. Alibaba’s Founder and Chairman, Jack Ma, attended and made a couple of promises.
See also: Jack Ma Promises to Support Young African Entrepreneurs Through 4 Projects
Uganda’s Capital, Kampala, is also promising. Last year, it once again had its premier tech summit, Swarm Summit, happen. While, The Innovation Village, a tech hub, also organized Kampala Innovation Week. The ecosystem’s first Innovation Week. Both events are set to happen again this year.
This month, the Blockchain Association of Uganda is organizing the "biggest Blockchain conference in Africa", yet.
See also: Uganda to host one of the biggest blockchain conferences in Africa
Ghana and Tanzania are also having exciting activities happen in their ecosystems.
Last year, Accra, Ghana’s capital, hosted Tech in Ghana Conference. It is also set to happen again later this year, with a corresponding one in London. The Ghana Tech Summit will also take place later this year.
Tanzania, another fledgeling ecosystem, has Sahara Sparks, an annual conference. The 2018 event will take place alongside the AfriLabs Annual General Meeting in Dar es Salaam.
In Francophone Africa, Senegal's capital, Dakar, hosted the two-week long Africa Internet Summit in April and May this year. The summit will take place in Uganda’s capital next year.
While Ivory Coast hosted the EU-Africa Business Forum last year. Where the controversial Africa Startup Manifesto was launched by Startup Europe Africa Network.
In other "really emerging" markets on the continent, Somalia and Ethiopia are promising, too.
Both countries, found on the Horn of Africa, are still in their nascent stages but seem keen to catch up. Ethiopia is set to hold a week-long ICT Expo in June. While Somalia’s recently launched iRise hub announced that it’ll host Mogadishu Tech Summit in July this year.
Beyond the borders of the continent, still, summits and conferences are taking place. Aimed at shaping the future of tech and startups across the continent.
Last year, Quartz Africa held its African startup ecosystem focused - Accelerating Africa event in New York City. The event, dubbed Accelerating Africa 2.0 had speakers like Elizabeth Rossiello from BitPesa, Tunde Kehinde from Lidya as well as Eghosa Omoigui from EchoVC.
In April this year, the Africa Fintech Summit happened in Washington DC. Seedstars World Summit, though focused on the entire emerging world, has also shone a light on the African startup ecosystem. Seedstars also hosts an annual regional Seedstars Summit Africa.
While London will host the Annual Africa Tech Summit (this week actually), once again. As well as the Tech in Ghana Conference. The Paris-based Hub, Afrobytes, will also hold its annual Afrobytes conference later this year. It will take place in Paris.
See also: Press Release: Africa Tech Summit Kigali – Where African Tech Connects