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Which African Cities Attract the Most Startups?

Only 7 African cities had a score of more than 1.0 points on StartupBlink’s index for 2021. Lagos, for example, is not only the biggest metropolitan area in Africa but has also made a name for itself as a tech hub rapidly advancing towards a 24-hour economy, generating 10% of Nigeria’s total GDP of $432.3bn. Nairobi, the second-highest rated African city in 2021, is home to the African headquarters of global heavyweights like Cisco, IBM, Coca-Cola, and Google. Cape Town and Johannesburg, on the other hand, are still profiting from the economic standing of SA, which led all African countries in terms of GDP for decades.

Notable companies include Cape Town’s Naspers, whose valuation of $104bn in July 2021 made it the largest company on the continent by a wide margin. As data from African Business shows, 8 of the 10 highest-valuated African companies as of July 2021 were in South Africa.

According to Bloomberg, Africa’s startup scene is booming. The sector attracted a record $5bn last year and saw the creation of 5 unicorns, companies that have achieved a pre-market valuation of more than $1bn, including Nigeria’s Flutterwave. There were more than 500 early-stage deals in Africa last year, most valued at less than $5m, setting the stage for a jump in demand for new capital, according to research by Briter Bridges. This year is looking even more promising.


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