Consultancies co-found World Economic Forum's Africa Growth Platform

30 August 2019 3 min. read
More news on

The World Economic Forum has launched a new programme to support startups across Africa with scaling up their operations. The Africa Growth Platform is a collaborative effort between a number of organisations, including advisory firms A.T. Kearney and the Dalberg Group.

The new platform will enable startups across the continent via a three-pillared structure. To begin with, it will ensure the adequate amount of government involvement by drawing engagement from governments across Africa. Government engagement will entail policy changes to generate a more supportive regulatory environment for startups.

The first stage is likely to not present major challenges, given that governments across the continent have recognised the significance of small and medium enterprises for growth in their respective economies, leading to a number of public sector initiatives to support their development.

Once government support is secured, the Africa Growth Platform will generate an ecosystem of sorts, consisting of private and public investors, foundations, multilateral institutions and multinational corporations. This ecosystem will act as a network to facilitate coordination between investors across the continent.

Consultancies co-found World Economic Forum's Africa Growth Platform

The ecosystem will also enable joint investments in key models that could have substantial benefits, thereby creating a larger finance pools. The third pillar is a similar ecosystem, which will work to facilitate coordination among the various startups that are part of the programme. 

The Africa Growth Platform is not only aimed at the development of startups, but is also designed to tackle other economic issues that currently plague the continent, including sluggish economic growth and rampant unemployment. At present, these issues are stifling growth in the startup environment as well.

There is no shortage of entrepreneurial activity across the continent, but few firms manage to survive or scale up their operations, primarily due to a lack of available funding. The programme – which is founded collaboratively by A.T. Kearney, Alibaba Group, Dalberg Group, Export Trading Group, U.S. African Development Foundation and Zenith Bank – has been initiated to alter this scenario.

The founding organisations will lay the groundwork for the Africa Growth Platform at this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa, which is due to take place in Cape Town between the 4th and the 6th of September. The event is themed ‘Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,’ and is expected to have more than 1,000 attendees, hailing from the government, business and academic worlds, among others.

“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,” commented Elsie Kanza, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum.