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Starting Up Africa

While startup cities are just emerging, there are smart and sophisticated steps being taken to develop healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems across the African continent. I take a look at one such collaboration, LIONS@FRICA, that promises to set a new example of how the willing can better help in Africa.

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Jonathan Ortmans
on February 03, 2014
Category:  Global  Growth & Poverty 
Nairobi: East Africa’s Startup Hub

When I asked Mbwana Alliy last month why he founded the Savannah Fund in Nairobi, he had a simple answer—it is East Africa’s technology hub. As part of PDE’s look at Africa I began last week, we focus today on Kenya.

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Jonathan Ortmans
on April 15, 2013
Category:  Global 
It’s Time for Startup Africa

Chatter about the promise of Africa is not new. Outside economists have been reminding us about relatively high GDP growth rates; China conspiracy theorists keep us informed about who is buying up the continent’s natural resources; and global aid agencies are constantly rewriting their strategies. What is new is the rise of a new generation of Africans that is actually making things happen.

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Jonathan Ortmans
on April 08, 2013
Category:  Global 
Startup Fever Heats Up in Africa

I report this week from Africa which is enjoying its greatest economic success in decades and where there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. With economic growth rates this year around 6 percent in one-third of the 49 sub-Saharan African countries, the IMF forecasts that Africa will have the fastest-growing economy of any continent over the next five years. The World Bank in turn has reported earlier this month that more than 20 sub-Saharan African countries, encompassing more than 400 million people, have gained middle-income status, while the number of people living in poverty is down by roughly 10 percentage points over the past decade.

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Jonathan Ortmans
on October 22, 2012
Category:  Global 
Supporting Sub-Saharan Startups

The creative genius among the young is perhaps one of the least-tapped resources in many economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. If given the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a career path and a business-friendly environment, young people can unleash their potential—creating gains for all in terms of quality of life, employment and wealth generation. This Friday, I will get a first-hand look at some of that potential as I moderate part of the African Innovation Summit—sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in coordination with Meridian International Center—that will welcome more than 60 young African entrepreneurs to Washington, DC. And later this year, thanks to a new partnership, we will see some of the continent’s most promising entrepreneurs compete during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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Jonathan Ortmans
on June 11, 2012
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