African startups raised a record-high $2.02B in 2019 (+74% YoY). Analysts anticipate that 2021 will likely top this, reaching a new record high for VC funding.
Challenges mean opportunities. Nearly half of Africans — 600 million people — did not have electricity in 2018, while around 80% of Sub-Saharan African companies suffered frequent electricity disruptions leading to economic losses. More than 70% of the population — 900 million people — lack access to clean cooking. The resulting household air pollution from
traditional uses of biomass causes 500,000 premature deaths a year. It also contributes to forest depletion from unsustainable harvesting uses of fuelwood, imposing a considerable burden on the household — mainly women — and lost productivity. Nevertheless, these challenges also present unprecedented opportunities.
FinTech, HealthTech, EdTech, InsureTech, AgriTech and EnergyTech.
Opportunities in these sectors are driven by outsized demand, abundant natural resources, beneficial regulatory reforms and continuous technological developments with increased connectivity.
Despite being home to 17% of the world’s population, Africa currently accounts for just 4% of global power supply investment. In 2019, the most comprehensive data to date (under non-pandemic circumstances) reflects: 85% of investment capital (~$1.5B) went to Sub-Saharan countries, 250 rounds (+52% YoY), 234 startups, 41% of funding to FinTech, 358 different investors and 17% of rounds with female founder.
Venture capital investment is expected to reach a record high in 2021. Africa’s venture capital investments rose to an all-time high in 2019, as reflected in Partech Partner’s Africa Tech Venture Capital Report 2020.
Economists had anticipated that 2020 would also reach new heights, but that was prior to the pandemic. Adjusted to account for conditions related to Covid, African tech ecosystem accelerator AfricArena predicted that venture capital funding in the continent’s startups would fall between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion for 2020. Actual year-end reports by Partech and Briter Bridges revealed data that indicated a total investment at $1.4 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively. With further hindsight, however, this is proving to be only a brief intermission to the pattern of increased investment pouring into African ventures.
For 2021 and beyond, AfricArena is predicting that as the situation normalizes, VC funding in the continent’s startups will regain the pre-pandemic trajectory. Experts expect the level of funding to increase to between $2.25 billion and $2.8 billion for 2021. If these expectations are met, these will surpass the 2019 figures for a record high on the continent. Many analysts, including Equatorius in-house analysts, believe this accelerating momentum is only the beginning of what will be a transformational new era for African development.
Work with Equatorius Capital Group.
At Equatorius, we invest in people, ideas and businesses that catalyze development and drive innovation for a brighter, more sustainable future.