The Growth of EdTech in Africa
The adoption of technology globally has no doubt been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic and its far reaching effects. For my mind, one sector in particular has been in dire need of such radical change, and that sector is Education.
Honing in on education in Africa, statistically, there are approximately 220 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 residing in Africa, equating to roughly 20% of the world’s youth. Providing high-quality education to this burgeoning population has consistently presented a significant challenge to African leaders given the scarce resources available to them.
As a venture capitalist at 4Di Capital, I have noticed a serious uptick in innovative edtechs on the continent in the past few months – a sector that fits firmly within our mandate. This growth has been facilitated by increased VC funding and focus on the vertical within our still nascent local ecosystem. One such initiative in particular I have been paying close attention to is Injini, who started Africa’s first edtech incubator. I recently attended their 4th Cohort’s virtual pitch off and was impressed with the startups on display, with two leaving me particularly excited about the development of edtech on the continent:
The first was Ambani, an online learning platform that utilizes Augmented Reality to gamify the African-language curriculum for early childhood development. With over 2000 languages on the African continent, access to foundational learning such as basic reading and numeracy in traditional languages has for a long time been a hindrance to such formative development. This issue is especially pertinent in Africa given the language barriers of the continent’s older demographic, as in order for parents to help their children to develop basic educational skills, materials are needed in native languages other than those taught within formal schooling environments.
The second was Mosabi, which took home 1st place in the pitch off. The edtech, which describes itself as the “MBA for the rising billions,” is a platform that fuzes fintech and edtech to impart financial literacy in emerging market citizens. The company provides these courses through partnerships with financial services providers who in return receive access to the previously untapped data analytics. Furthermore, their courses have already proved beneficial, with course attendees repaying loans at 25% higher rates than before. I believe financial literacy has perpetually been a missing link in communities across Africa. I thus have no doubt that programs – like Mosabi – could prove vital for both creating a more equitable financial landscape as well as empowering the millions of micro-entrepreneurs on the continent with the knowledge needed to grow their businesses.
Holistically, the recent rapid adoption of technology has left education ripe for disruption. Consequently, I am elated to see that edtechs across the continent are utilizing this mindset shift to develop their solutions and hopefully cultivate greater equity and inclusion in education.
P.S. HolonIQ recently released their annual Africa EdTech 50 publication – a list of the 50 most innovative EdTech startups across Sub-Saharan Africa (with both Ambani and Mosabi featuring):