Africa, a region long defined by fragmentation, is ripe for innovation in finance. With a median age of 19, there is a raw entrepreneurial energy in cities such as Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi. Young entrepreneurs like the founders of portfolio company Flutterwave are starting to invest locally and fill the void.
Flutterwave, which has offices in Lagos and San Francisco, hit the $1bn mark in March when it raised $170m from US investors. Typical is Samrawit Fikru, an Ethiopian woman who founded Ride, a taxi-hailing app. Young Africans have tapped into international networks. FairMoney was co-founded by Laurin Nabuko Hainy, a German-Nigerian man. It has launched a business in India, part of a trend of African start-ups taking on other emerging economies. South Africa’s TymeBank raised $110m to expand into the Philippines. FlexClub, a South African company that allows Uber drivers to hire cars on subscription, operates in Mexico.