Silicon Savannah: Is Africa tipped for a tech take-off?

emerging market startups silicon savanah

Investor interest in Africa tends to focus on commodities and the continent's gold, copper and diamond reserves. But tremendous growth in its technology sector is starting to turn heads and could signal the start of a "silicon Africa" – provided infrastructure catches up with the region's high-tech ambitions.

"We think that there will be tremendous growth in the technology ecosystem overall across Africa", Marcin Hejka, managing director at Intel Capital, the venture capital division of the chipmaker, told CNBC in an email.

"Africa will produce multi-billion dollar companies in the next ten years, and I am very confident in the growth in the continent."

Across Africa, technology hubs, stretching from "Silicon Cape" in South Africa to "Silicon Savannah" in East Africa have sprung up, providing a place for tech start-ups to meet up, swap ideas and grow.

"This is helping create and develop more savvy entrepreneurs. However given the size of the opportunities in the tech sector, more of these hubs are required," Tobi Oke investment director for Sub-Saharan Africa at Intel Capital told CNBC in an email.

One example of Africa's eagerness to embrace technology is its flourishing mobile phone sector. In a continent where retailers take payment over a mobile phone rather than using cash, and farmers use their handsets to price crops remotely, Africa's cellphone economy it is the fastest growing in the world.

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