According to Forbes, activities on digital platforms increased from 10 million daily participants in December 2019 to 300 million at the height of the pandemic, with this partially driven by a rise in the number of startup ventures across the globe.
Make no mistake; the trend for online business and e-commerce has accelerated significantly as people have had to spend more time at home or unfortunately lost their jobs.
This trend is particularly prevalent in South Africa; but why is this the case and what are the most popular types of online business in the region?
The Rise of Online Entrepreneurship
The rise of entrepreneurship in Africa has confounded the prevailing economic climate, with the Corona Virus and subsequent lockdown measures having curbed activity in sub-Saharan countries by 3.3% through 2020.
Despite this, African startups continue to thrive, with the total venture capital for new businesses in the region growing to $1.31 billion (R18.5 billion) in 2020.
This was up incrementally from $1.27 billion (R17.9 billion) in 2019, according to various data sets collated from the think tank Briter Bridges.
In many ways, this is the continuation of a long standing trend in Africa, and one that continues to be underpinned by innovation and technological advancement (we’ll have a little more on this later in the piece).
However, it has also been accelerated considerably by the Corona Virus pandemic, which has changed consumer behaviours and created demand for a raft of new products and services across the globe.
Most of these products and services are digitally-focused, while they’ve created numerous opportunities in tech-led markets such as e-commerce, financial market trading and various freelancing services.
Why Are Startups Popular in Africa & Which Sectors Dominate The Market?
As we’ve already touched on, startup and innovation culture has continued to deepen on the African continent throughout the digital age, leading to an explosion of tech hubs in a host of different countries.
Overall, the number of tech hubs in Africa has increased by nearly 50% over the course of the last 12 months, particularly as the need for digital solutions to unique commercial challenges has become increasingly pressing.
Nigeria and South Africa are dominant in this respect, as these countries are home to 85 and 80 innovative tech hubs respectively. The next most prolific contributor is Egypt in North Africa, with this nation accounting for 56 tech hubs in total.
What’s more, global corporations such as Microsoft are also continuing to invest in innovation in Africa, with the iconic computer brand having spent over $100 million on dedicated development centres to employ 500 Africans by 2023.
The various tech hubs throughout Africa support new startups across a range of sectors, particularly e-commerce and financial market trading.
The rising popularity of currency trading and the type of Forex account that offers a no deposit bonus has been particularly empowered by emerging mobile technologies in Africa, which have increased accessibility and leveled the playing field for novice and part-time traders.
This is definitely borne out by the numbers, which show that South Africa alone boasted a mobile penetration rate of 95% by the end of 2018.