Africa’s Sleeping Giant is yet to awaken
In 2022, Central Africa has been by far the region where start-ups raised the least funding through deals $100k and over with a total of $51 million. While the region represented only 1.1% of the funding raised on the continent, YoY growth was commendable, as start-ups raised more than double the amount that had been raised in 2021 ($24m). The number of $100k+ deals also grew YoY - from 12 in 2021 to 14 in 2022 - and represented 1.4% of the continent’s total.
However, only two of the eight countries that make up Central Africa have seen at least one $100k+ deal last year: the DRC and Cameroon. The DRC recorded 5 $100k+ deals in 2022 (vs. 4 in 2021) and the total amount raised more than tripled, from $12m in 2021 to $39m last year. However, this impressive growth is almost fully attributable to Jambo, which raised a $7.5m Seed round in February, followed three months later by a $30m Series A round in May. As such, the start-up was responsible to a large extent for the region’s YoY growth in funding raised as these two deals alone represent 74% of all the funding raised in Central Africa last year. Funding raised in Cameroon was flat YoY ($12m) while one more $100k+ deal was recorded compared to 2021 (9 vs. 8). The largest transaction by far was Ejara’s $8m Series A. It means that outside of Jambo and Ejara - both in the ‘crypto space’ -, start-ups in the region raised a mere $5m in 2021.
Central Africa is punching much below its weight as its share of total funding raised in Africa (1.1%) is significantly lower than its share of the continent’s GDP (~5%), and even more so than its share of Africa’s population (12%). About $0.30 of start-up funding was raised per capita in 2022 in the region, barely a tenth of the continental average ($3.4pc).
This is not to say that there isn’t talent or potential in the DRC, Cameroon, and beyond. Behind these low numbers are missed/future opportunities for investors. We’ll publish the last map of the series - Northern Africa - soon. Though I’m also looking at some other interesting analysis at the moment which we might publish first, because we’re asked for it almost on a daily basis (here’s a hint…). And that’s your customary discount link to the database: you’ve earned it!