Technology, funding, learning models: What is the next frontier for edtech startups in Africa? • Techpoint Africa – Techpoint Africa

“Something good is a frontier; something better is also a frontier and something excellent is just another frontier! You can always go beyond these frontiers! And so what is excellent? Just a frontier!”

— Mehmet Murat ildan

“There exist limitless opportunit…….

“Something good is a frontier; something better is also a frontier and something excellent is just another frontier! You can always go beyond these frontiers! And so what is excellent? Just a frontier!”

— Mehmet Murat ildan

“There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” 

— Charles Kettering

When I think about the word ‘frontier’, what comes to mind is the American Wild West. Why? My first idea of what that word means came from a book romanticising the life of one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. For the life of me, I can’t remember the title, and Google Search is not helping.

But back to the word frontier. While there are several meanings of the word, for our purposes, we would be adopting this definition by the Merriam Webster Dictionary: “a new field for exploitative or developmental activity.”

Why all the talk about frontiers? We’ll get into that at the end of this article, but for now, let’s take a look at some numbers.

The edtech industry in Africa: the now

Photo Credit: Global Partnership for Education – GPE Flickr via Compfight cc

According to Briter Bridges, as of Q1 2020, there were 210 edtech startups in Africa. The African e-learning space is many times described as nascent. A bit surprising, as it is not a novel industry on the continent.

The African Virtual University, created by the World Bank in 1997 and established by a charter signed by eighteen African member states, is Africa’s first Internet-based school. It also has a physical building in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.  

Nigeria also has a distance learning university, the National Open University of Nigeria, founded in 2002 and the first of its kind in West Africa.

However, only just recently has the edtech space begun to pick up  steam.

According to Boye Oshinaga, Gradely CEO, “The edtech industry is at its infrastructure-building phase in Nigeria and Africa, where those players that invest in the rails will get a big payoff in the coming years.” 

Why the infrastructure-building phase? Because a lot of what would power the industry is just as nascent as the edtech space.

Most of the time, accessibility to these edtech startups requires an Internet connection, or at the very least, a smartphone.

Per Internet World Stats, Internet penetration in Africa as of Q1 2020 stood at 39.3%, much lower than the …….

Source: https://techpoint.africa/2021/11/18/the-next-frontier-edtech/

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