The first conference dedicated to coworking in Africa is set to take place in Cape Town in July, with the organisers saying the conference is the chance for entrepreneurs to become part of the “upcoming African coworking community”.
Speaking to Disrupt Africa, Jean-Yves Huwart, of the Coworking Africa conference team, said the global event organisers decided to launch an African leg in recognition of their belief that the development of coworking on the continent is “more important” than in other regions of the world.
“The roll-out of new coworking spaces is accelerating in Africa. The continent is on the same track Europe or the US were a few years ago,” Huwart said.
“The development of a broad coworking offering is maybe even more important in Africa than it is in other places in the world. Taking into account the lack of infrastructure, the power outages and, sometimes, the poor quality of internet access, coworking spaces allow to mutualize strengths and provide with an alternative, a hub approach, for the lack of affordable workplaces and meeting rooms in many African cities,” he said.
According to Huwart, the communities within coworking spaces structure the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, and provide an ideal source for finding the skills, partners and customers which startups and small businesses may be seeking.
“Africa has one of the youngest and fastest growing population in the world. This workforce needs opportunities and connections to face the upcoming challenges,” he said.
Considering the current state of co-working in Africa, Huwart believes South Africa has seen the most uptake to date; although he adds Egypt, Kenya and Morocco are also making a lot of progress towards co-working.
Huwart says attendees at the first Coworking Africa conference will have the opportunity to network and connect with other entrepreneurs and international coworking supporters, share experiences and information, as well as have the chance to tour Cape Town’s coworking spaces.
The conference will take place on July 23 and 24, and registration is required online.