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UK government strengthens ties with African tech firms

Plans announced to develop startups in Africa as part of the announcements around the first UK-Africa investment summit

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has launched a new iteration of a scheme to develop African tech startups as the first UK-Africa Investment Summit gets underway.

The initiatives are part of Go Global Africa, a programme launched in 2019 that is aimed at building links between the region and the UK’s digital sector, and pave the way for future business opportunities. Last year, 18 African tech startups visited London as part of the programme.

Applications are now open for the 2020 edition of the tech project, focused on firms from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria active in tech solutions within the areas of finance, agriculture, healthcare and clean energy that are ready to hit the market and have already received funding.

“Through the Go Global Africa project we are giving entrepreneurs the support they need to grow their business and benefit from the UK’s world-leading tech and innovation expertise,” said digital minister Matt Warman. “This will allow them to continue developing technology to improve lives around the world.”

Recent growth seen in Africa’s tech sector is interesting to the UK, as local startups raised 50% more venture capital in 2017 than in 2016. Most of that cash is being invested in South Africa (£130m), Kenya (£114m) and Nigeria (£89m).

For the 2020 edition of the Go Global Africa programme, the most promising startups will be selected at events in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, where a three-day masterclass on technical and business aspects will be hosted for shortlisted firms.

Winners from the events will then come to the UK in March 2020, where they will take part in a five-day training programme focused on improving business skills and building business relationships with the UK digital sector.

According to DCMS, the startups are also expected to share the skills they have learned with other firms across the continent.

The Go Global Africa scheme follows the launch of UK-Nigeria, UK-Kenya and UK-South Africa tech hubs in August 2018. The centres are part of broader plans to boost digital inclusion in Africa.

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