African tech challengers set to grow share on global stage

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A new report by the Boston Consulting Group identifies 100 “tech challengers” that have already grown into powerful forces in technology and other industries, with Africa emerging as a fast-growing hub where challengers re-invent the industries they operate in and solve problems specific to the African landscape.

According to the report, their impact is being felt in their home markets, regionally, and internationally. The report notes that these challengers have generally weathered the COVID-19 crisis well, with many showing increases in both customers and frequency of usage.

While previous emerging markets tech leaders came predominantly from China, the current generation is much more geographically diverse, encompassing Africa, Asia, Israel, Latin America, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. More than 10,000 tech companies have been founded in emerging markets since 2014, with 47% of them outside China, the report says.

“Although Africa currently has the smallest representation among emerging market tech challengers, sitting at less than five percent, our challengers in Africa have average revenue of approximately 500 million USD and are growing about 11 times faster than S&P 500 Tech companies – showing their potential for growth,” says Stefano Niavas, Managing Director and Partner at BCG Johannesburg.

Niavas adds that Africa is likely to take more share in the next phase of the emerging markets tech landscape, with the majority of activity concentrated in South Africa and Nigeria. “Nigeria, though small, is one of the fastest growing hubs by number of new tech companies founded in the last 5 years – nearly twice as fast as China and 2.5 times as fast as the United States,” he says.