What do we see at first glance when we look at Max Cuvellier’s and Maxime Bayen’s graph?
The tremendous growth of the tech sector in Senegal. In 2021, USD 222 million was invested in startups, 5.2% of total investments in Africa. Whereas the years before, it was well under USD 10 million.
Admittedly, USD 200 million alone went to a single FinTech startup, WAVE. The remaining 22 million USD with investments over 100,000 USD was shared by 16 startups, 7 of them with investments over 1 million USD. In the previous two years, there was at most ever one startup that got this far.
I have written about WAVE before. As a small FinTech, it had overtaken Orange, the large telecom provider, as the largest mobile money provider in Senegal. The incredible $200 million Series-A funding is a fighting chance against all of Africa’s big telecoms (and banks) that currently offer Mobile Money and make good profits from it.
Are WAVE and the 16 other startups a sign of Senegal and Francophone West Africa catching up in the tech sector? Will entirely new kinds of tech innovations emerge in the slipstream of the big four – South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt?
We know from East Africa that the “green field” is a special ground for tech innovations close to the needs of the people.
Together, we want to explore these questions directly in Dakar. From March 29 to 31, 2022, at our “Innovation Mission Dakar“. With ProsperAfrica, with the German Africa Association, with Swiss-Cham Africa.