All Party Parliamentary Group for Africa hosts roundtable with Africa’s top tech start-ups

 

On 17 August 2017 Chi Onwurah MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Africa (APPG) and Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, met with 14 CEOs participating in “PitchDrive” to discuss the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s digital technology sector.
PitchDrive is an initiative by Nigerian technology innovation centre Co-Creation Hub and Google for Entrepreneurs which is engaging 14 CEOs from Africa’s top tech start-ups on a tour of Europe (London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich and Paris) to pitch to over 300 investors, with a collective target of raising over €20m.
Selected start-ups include: Kudobuzz (Ghana), Ongair (Kenya), Gebeya (Kenya/ Ethiopia), Piggybank (Nigeria), Gloo (Nigeria), Prepclass (Nigeria), Tradedepot (Nigeria), Lifebank (Nigeria), Fashpa (Nigeria) Firefly media (Senegal), GoMetro (South Africa), ClinicMaster (Uganda), BitFinance (Zimbabwe) and Real food (Zimbabwe).

Participants at the roundtable spoke about the key technologies gaining traction in Africa such as Bitcoin and Fintech; the opportunities available in disruption and market size that current and new start-ups can capitalise on; and the challenges arising from a shortage of digital skills, visa refusals and government sponsored digital skills centres.

The round table feeds into the Africa APPG’s current thematic focus of trade with and within Africa and builds on the group’s report titled “Africa-UK Trade and Development Cooperation Relations in the Transitional and Post Brexit Period”. Insights from the meeting will inform the Africa APPG’s November trip to Lagos Nigeria, where the group will host further roundtables with government officials and tech companies to unpack the role the country’s digital industry can play in increasing GDP, leveraging existing trade ties and acting as a platform for entrepreneurial innovation.

Following the meeting, Africa APPG Chair, Chi Onwurah MP said: “Meeting with the CEOs from Pitchdrive’s initiative was totally inspiring as well as helping better our understanding of the key opportunities and challenges faced by start-ups in Africa and the technologies they are building on. Tech can be a platform for positive change across many sectors in Africa and will certainly drive Africa’s economic future.  The APPG is particularly interested in understanding how the UK can help promote science and innovation in Africa . The Africa APPG exists to promote mutually beneficial relationships between Africa and the UK and overturn some of the stereotypes which, unfortunately, still exist about Africa in the UK. Over the last year we have focused particularly on trade and the way it can benefit the lives of those across Africa and within the UK. Tech presents huge opportunities to improve lives whilst creating wealth and jobs both in the UK and Africa

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Editor’s Note

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Africa (Africa APPG) is a cross party group of UK Parliamentarians who work to promote mutually beneficial relationships between the UK and Africa. Its secretariat is provided by the Royal African Society.   For more information please contact Lailah Nesbitt-Ahmed, Policy and Research Coordinator for the Africa APPG, at nesbittahmedl@parliament.uk

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