New research shows there are over a hundred tech hubs across Africa! Over the past days AfriLabs, the pan-African innovation hub network, has convened for its second annual congress in Berlin, just prior to its participation in re:publica, Europe’s largest conference on the Internet and society. Also see our coverage of AfriLabs’ first congress last year.
At AfriLabs’ second annual congress the founding board of directors of AfriLabs, who served since 2010 and include both co-founders of VC4Africa, passed on their duties to a completely new board of directors, consisting of hub representatives from across Africa.
At the re:publica event, GIZ and BMZ, in collaboration with AfriLabs are hosting a global gathering of hubs to stimulate networking, knowledge exchange and collaboration. In addition today, Thursday, May 8, several AfriLabs members and other participants of the Global Innovation Gathering (GIG) are sharing their views on innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology. AfriLabs also has a presence on the GIG (Global Innovation Gathering) Lounge Bus, which is situated outside the area of the re:publica campus. AfriLabs is located on the ground floor of the two-floor space and looks forward to making connections in the re:publica lounge meant for meet-ups, micro-talks and networking. Also VC4Africa and AfriLabs co-founders Ben White and Bill Zimmerman are present at all these events.
AfriLabs’ pre-re:publica meeting provided an opportunity to welcome the newly elected members of AfriLabs’ board of directors. AfriLabs Director Tayo Akinyeymi shares: “I’m pleased to announce that our new board members are Lynn Sellanga from NaiLab (Kenya); Andriankoto Ratozamanana from Habaka (Madagascar); John Matago from @iBizAfrica (Kenya); Barbara Birungi from Hive Colab (Uganda) and Michael Oluwagbemi from Wennovation Hub (Nigeria).”
History of AfriLabs
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.
The pan-African AfriLabs network presently includes 26 innovation hubs in 15 African countries. VC4Africa co-founder Ben White adds: “Great to see the AfriLabs community continue to grow! We started with just 4 members in 2010. We grew to 13 innovation hubs in 2012, 19 in 2013, and now 26 members are here at the annual gathering 2014!”