Reports commissioned by Google have highlighted positives and negatives of the South Africa and Nigerian tech startup scenes, making recommendations it hopes will speed their development.
The research, conducted by management consulting firm OC&C, compared South Africa and Nigeria with countries that have world-leading tech entrepreneurship outputs and with a peer set of countries with comparable development stages, similar characteristics, or geographic proximity.
It interviewed a variety of stakeholders representing different components of the ecosystem, spanning public and private as well as institutional and individual perspectives.
The South African report found that while the country has made impressive social gains since the end of apartheid, levels of poverty and inequality remain untenably high. If the country is to overcome these difficulties, it must foster an environment that encourages tech-based entrepreneurship.
Among the key issues highlighted by the report are an education system unable to support broad-based tech entrepreneurship, a lack of monitoring in the networks of support offered to young entrepreneurs, and a lack of programmes focused on mapping out the full journey of entrepreneurship.
“Over the past 15 years, tech has become an increasingly important player in the global economy. It’s also become clear that those nations which nurture digital and innovation-based cultures not only enjoy extraordinary wealth (and job creation), but have also transformed the way people live and do business,” said Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, public policy and government relations manager for Google South Africa.
“In South Africa, we already have extraordinary tech talent. But as the report makes clear, we need to broaden the depth and improve the support available to that talent if we’re going to unlock the country’s true entrepreneurial potential.”
In Nigeria, challenges identified included the skill set of Nigeria’s youth, making sustained early stage funding available, and regulations that inhibit the growth of tech startups.
It identified other policy-related concerns, such as government requirements for the participation of startups in public procurement processes. Stakeholders said the requirement for things like three-year financial audits and tax certificates were hindrances for startups looking to participate in government tenders.
The full reports are available here.