AfriLabs, the pan-African network of 19 technology and innovation hubs in 13 African countries, is convening for its first annual meeting this Saturday, May 4th, in the lead up to re:publica, Europe’s largest conference on internet and society in Berlin.
At the re:publica event AfriLabs and GIZ are hosting a global gathering of hubs to stimulate networking, knowledge exchange and collaboration. AfriLabs’ pre-re:publica meeting will provide a unique opportunity for the network to chart the way forward as a community.
“The AfriLabs community is excited to convene for the first time as a network in Berlin, and participate in re:publica,” says Director Tayo Akinyemi. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to connect with one another and with a global community of innovators. All are welcome to join us at the Global Innovation Lounge — “hub central” for re:publica — to meet AfriLabs, engage with hubs across the globe, and contribute to the dialogue.”
Africa has witnessed a growing number of tech hubs, each of which serves as a physical nexus for developers, entrepreneurs, and investors, emerge across the continent. In response to this trend, AfriLabs was founded in 2010 by five entrepreneurs active in the hub space — Bart Lacroix, Co-Founder of NaiLab and the 1%CLUB, Ben White, Co-Founder of VC4Africa and Board Member of ActivSpaces,
Bill Zimmerman, Co-Founder of ActivSpaces and VC4Africa, Erik Hersman, Co-Founder of iHub and Ushahidi, and Jon Gosier, Founder of Appfrica and Hive Colab—who believed that bringing African hubs together to learn and collaborate would enable them to maximize impact within their local ecosystems and affect change at a regional and pan-African level.
With initial support from Hivos, AfriLabs is working to facilitate knowledge-sharing and collaboration inside the network and beyond. AfriLabs is also partnering with infoDev and four East African tech hubs to pilot virtual incubation in the region. In addition to consolidating the network, AfriLabs seeks to expand. With over 90 hubs on the African continent, there is significant scope for growing the community. In that spirit, AfriLabs welcomes six new members to the network: CTIC Dakar (Senegal), The District (Egypt), kLab (Rwanda), icecairo (Egypt), iLab Nairobi (Kenya), and m:lab (Kenya), and hopes to invite many more in the coming months.