gender diversity how have different african startup ecosystems been performing

Gender Diversity: How Have Different African Startup Ecosystems Been Performing?

Africa’s tech ecosystem has experienced exponential growth in recent years, enjoying a glorious ride of securing investments worth millions in its early days to attracting billions today.

The successes are not that hard to track amid prominent surging numbers of startups across the continent and the daily funding rounds.

Between 2022 and April 2023, 711 African tech startups attracted a combined investment total of just over $4 million. Although the figures are staggering, they still raise concerns. Here’s why.

The State Of Gender Diversity In African Startup Ecosystems

According to a Disrupt Africa report, of the more than $4 billion raised, only 9.1% went to startups co-founded by a woman and just 2.9% to those with a female CEO or equivalent.

Of the 2,395 companies tracked for the concerning report, just 14.6% have at least one female co-founder and only 9.6% have a woman CEO.

From a funding perspective, the report analysed 711 startups, of which just 21% had at least one female co-founder and only 11.7% had a female CEO.

Best Performing African Tech Ecosystems

Zambia, Rwanda, Tunisia, Senegal and Ethiopia delivered 24, 40, 36, 37 and 28 startups, with a corresponding female co-founder percentage of 20.8%, 22.5%, 22.2%, 21.6%, and 21.4%.

Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya delivered 62, 521, 502, 470 and 331 startups, with a corresponding female co-founder percentage of 21%, 13.6%, 16.5%, 12.3%, and 16.6%.

Despite this massive run, it appears some serious work needs to be done to get women anywhere near parity from a leadership perspective within the space.

Innovation Demands Diversity – The General Rule

Disrupt Africa’s latest publication is the company’s most ambitious ecosystem research project to date – demonstrating the lack of gender diversity in the African tech startup landscape.

It is released in partnership with Africa-focused pre-seed investment programme Madica, that seeks to empower under-represented mission-driven founders on the continent.

The report encompasses survey data where female founders have spoken directly about their experiences within the ecosystem, as well as personalised case studies.