Africa’s Startup Ecosystems Are at a Major Turning Point
Thursday, April 18, 2019
By Yinka Adegoke
It isn’t hyperbole to describe last week as a turning point for the African startup ecosystem. The obvious reason: The successful initial public offering of Jumia. Yet it’s bigger than the e-commerce company, and it’s a tide that had started to turn since the second half of 2018.
Jumia, now listed on the New York Stock Exchange, may not represent the greatest of financial boons for a majority of African investors (though South Africa’s MTN is still its largest shareholder—for now). Getting the IPO—Africa’s largest e-commerce service, operating in 14 countries—off the ground represented a coming of age for a sector the world’s biggest capital markets and investors often have portrayed as a well-intentioned but fanciful dream. That was particularly clear for anyone with a perspective drawing on experience on the continent and from beyond.
Photo courtesy of UNCTAD.