The African startup ecosystem seems to be gathering momentum with a number of ground-breaking innovations and novel technologies popping up on the radar in recent times. How fitting it is that three such indigenous startups who have distinguished themselves in criteria such as innovation, potential impact, and leadership have garnered deserved global recognition, having been listed amongst 58 other companies in the prestigious class that is the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers Cohort of 2018.
The duo of BitPesa and Carepay, both fintech companies operating out of the East African nation of Kenya, as well as Moroccan e-commerce startup, WaystoCap, were all named by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its latest cohort of “Technology Pioneers.” These three African enterprises will now join an existing elite community of companies that form the annual cohort of WEF Technology Pioneers.
The companies selected in this year’s Technology Pioneers cohort are reported to have been subjected to considerable scrutiny from an unbiased selection committee that comprised of over 60 corporate executives, venture capitalists, academies, and entrepreneurs. Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Spotify, and Twitter are just a few mentions of other businesses of repute that have been recipients of this recognition in the past.
Three African companies were included in this year’s cohort, with two of Kenya’s prominent fintech startups in the form of BitPesa and CarePay, as well as Moroccan e-commerce platform, WaystoCap, making the cut. As one of the perks that come with the recognition, these African companies, alongside other recipients, will have the opportunity to take part in the initiatives, activities, and programs designed by the WEF. The Annual Meeting of the New Champions that is slated to hold in China later this year, as well as next year’s Annual Meeting in Davos, are some of such activities that may impact these startups and trigger more success.
Speaking in regard to the development, Niama El Bassunie, WaystoCap’s co-founder and CEO, asserted the significance of the coming of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which she described as “a concept from the World Economic Forum.” She also hinted at her company’s commitment towards creating an enabling environment for both small and large businesses on the continent to buy and sell commodities both locally and internationally. In her words, “we are building an online marketplace using technology that is centered on trust, verification, and security, so that African SMEs can buy and sell globally. This will revolutionize the way we do business and open up opportunities that have not existed previously.” It is hoped that these companies will consolidate on this recognition and perhaps motivate other African startups in the drive for the economic emancipation of the continent.