By Jean-Pierre Afadhali
Last year African tech companies recorded $1.19 billion in total deal value even though 103 deals representing 22.7 percent of the total 454 deals recorded never disclosed their amount, latest index revealed.
According to Digest Africa 2019 index released on Monday 14 Jan, the East African region, with $303.9 million which translated into 44.2 percent of the total funding raised registered the highest amount in Africa.
Data compiled by Digest Africa, an African business intelligence firm show that amongst countries, Kenya, with 22.8 percent ($156.5M) of the total funding raised, recorded the highest while the financial services sector recorded the highest amount of funding raised on the continent with 92 deals representing $276.7 million
“We also believe that the figure could have been higher than $1.19 billion had the values of certain deals been disclosed,” said Africa Digest in its report summary.
Some of the companies that did not disclose their deals amount include e-commerce giant Jumia and M-Kopa, a Kenyan solar energy company.
The Digest Africa Index documents key trends, opportunities, and challenges in Africa’s technology landscape by focusing on funding, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals as well as the companies and investors behind them.
According to the 2019 Index, technology companies across Africa raised a total of $686.4 million in funding across 336 disclosed funding deals of the 415 recorded.
Fintech leads in investment attraction according to the figures released by Africa Digest.
“There were 39 M&A deals recorded in Africa’s technology space though only seven of these were disclosed,” noted the report.
According to the tech companies’ index, South Africa registered the highest number of deals with 24 and six of the deals whose amounts were disclosed also came from the country.
Compuscan, which Experian acquired for $263 million, and WeBuyCars that was acquired by Naspers for $94 million – through OLX Group – recorded the highest M&A deal values.
Meanwhile, a total of sixteen technology-focused funds were raised adding up to $1.094 billion in value. 69.8 percent of the funds raised were early stage focused and 47.7 percent of them were sector agnostic.
Digest Africa said it collects the data from press releases, reputable media companies, publicly available databases like Competition Authority of Tanzania and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as contacting companies and investors.
However, the business intelligence firm only considers in its data collection for the index on only for-profit early-stage and technology companies that are either incorporated in Africa or headquartered in Africa.
“We classified all the companies under ten sectors where most of the funding and M&A activity took place while all the others that fell under areas with insignificant activity are captured under Information Technology,” noted the report authors.
The sector emerging technologies covers drones, the block-chain, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies that are just beginning to take off on the continent.
Some experts said fintech is the sector that is attracting biggest chunk of investment on the continent amid increasing innovation in telecom and other technologies to serve unbanked people.
“With traditional banks still struggling to reach the 95 million unbanked adults across Sub-Saharan Africa, it comes as no surprise that in 2018, investors (locally and internationally) are still backing the new wave of Fintech startups that are levelling the playing field for the unbanked and under-served in Africa.” The organizers of Africa Tech summit, the annual Africa startup event, said in a news release.
Digest Africa noted that they only considered deals amounting to $10,000 or more and all values presented in other currencies other than US dollar (USD) were translated into USD using Bloomberg’s Currency Converter or recorded based on the source if already translated into USD.