New Africa Growth Platform to scale the region’s start-ups for success

02 Sep 2019

The impact.

Launched ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2019, our new initiative, the Africa Growth Platform,, will support Africa’s community of start-up enterprises to grow and compete in international markets.

Supported by six founding global member organizations, the Platform will bring together governments, investors, businesses and entrepreneurs to enhance funding prospects and create better enabling environments for start-up growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

What’s the challenge?

Two-thirds of Africa’s 420 million young people are currently unemployed. Despite this, the region’s young population has a high start-up spirit – with early-stage entrepreneurial activity 13% higher than the global average.

But insufficient support and infrastructure means start-ups in Africa are 14% more likely to fail than those elsewhere in the world.

Baseline conditions to support entrepreneurship in the region are essential. From reducing the time it takes to start a business, to ensuring more flexible labour laws, tax incentives, prioritizing new market innovations and supporting cross-border market access – significant reforms are crucial for future success.

Africa’s entrepreneurs are its greatest economic asset but spirit and resourcefulness alone are not always enough to help them succeed. Too often start-ups and innovative enterprises fail needlessly through lack of additional finance or overly burdensome regulations. The Africa Growth Platform brings together all the actors; governments, investors and the businesses themselves necessary to create an environment where they can fulfil their potential in terms of growth and employment.

Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum

Our approach.

The Africa Growth Platform, will help local start-ups scale-up in three major ways:

• Firstly, by securing commitments from governments to implement policy reforms aimed at stimulating and accelerating business growth.
• Secondly, it will build a community of investors, whether private investors, foundations, multilateral institutions or corporate intrapreneurs, to enable better coordination and pooling of resources that could facilitate larger subsequent rounds of funding.
• Third, the platform will create and sustain a community of start-up businesses themselves, promoting collaboration and sharing best practices.

The six founding member organizations of the Africa Growth Platform include Alibaba Group, A.T. Kearney, Dalberg Group, Export Trading Group, U.S. African Development Foundation and Zenith Bank.

The Africa Growth Platform will form a major part of the programme at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2019, which will take place 4-6 September in Cape Town, South Africa with the goal of using the convening power of the meeting to secure commitments and participation from leaders of governments, businesses, investors and other stakeholders.

Africa's Fourth Industrial Revolution

How can you get involved?

Businesses are invited to partner with the World Economic Forum’s Africa Growth Platform, to help start-ups across the region scale-up for maximum success.

The Forum’s global presence enables our Partners and Members to gain insights into the trajectories of key countries and regions. They can interact with decision-makers and join initiatives to create change through public-private cooperation across national and regional boundaries.

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