Startup Funding

In 2023, Africa’s “Big Four” startup ecosystems – Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria – continued to dominate the continent’s venture capital landscape, attracting 87% of total funding according to data released by Africa: The Big Deal. However, their performances diverged significantly, highlighting an uneven distribution of resources and growth dynamics.

Kenya Leads, Nigeria Lags

Kenya retained its top position, securing $800 million, but a 25% year-over-year decline exposed vulnerabilities. Conversely, Egypt emerged as the surprise, claiming the second spot with $450 million despite a modest dip. South Africa stood steady with $600 million and a healthy 8% growth, maintaining its high regional share (97%). However, the most dramatic shift occurred in Nigeria, where funding plummeted 67% to $410 million, the lowest share among the Big Four at 68%.

The reasons behind these disparities are varied. Kenya’s decline aligns with the global funding slowdown but its regional dominance strengthened, demonstrating resilience. Egypt’s success is owed largely to MNT-Halan’s mega-financing and weaker performance in competing regional players like Algeria and Tunisia. South Africa’s stability, driven by its consistently strong ecosystem, offered a rare bright spot.

The collapse of Nigerian funding is particularly worrying. Although it boasted the highest number of funded start-ups (146), the sharp reduction in capital reflects broader economic struggles and potentially a less diversified ecosystem.

Despite the Big Four’s dominance, it’s crucial to acknowledge the vibrant activity beyond their borders. Encouragingly, 29% of start-ups raising $100,000 or more in 2023 hailed from outside these prominent hubs, showcasing untapped potential across the continent.


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Nigel Jr.
As a tech enthusiast and expert, Nigel Jr. is dedicated to providing in-depth and insightful content on all things technology. With a background in online journalism, product reviewing, and tech creation, Nigel has become a trusted source for all things tech.

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