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Sheba Valley- Ethiopia’s ‘Silicon Valley’

July 20, 2017 • East Africa, General, Top Stories

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Today tech sector innovations are popping up not only in California but in emerging markets such as Ethiopia. The US has Silicon Valley, Nigeria has its own Yabacon Valley and Kenya Silicon Savannah. Well, Ethiopia has Sheba Valley as its emerging tech hub. There are a few examples of emerging technology companies transforming lives in Ethiopia, from the way communication is done to the way the banking sector operates.

One of the investment portfolios of American Billionaire Tim Drapper is Nigeria’s PAGA financial services. The platform was built, maintained and is currently being supported by engineers from Apposit, a software engineering company based in Ethiopia.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) development including emotion detection & voice/facial recognition is being designed and made by AI experts of Icog-Labs in Ethiopia. Co-created with American researcher Ben Goertzel, Icog-labs is the first Ethiopian research and development laboratory specialising in AI.

Another example is a self-sustainable ecosystem that trains, hires, and incubates the best of African talent. Gebeya has its head quarters and training facility in Ethiopia and has graduated over 70 innovators from all over Africa.

A taxi hailing service which incorporates text messaging & app/online booking and e-payment solutions has been developed by a company dubbed  ‘Africa’s Uber’ – Zayride of Ethiopia.

YENEPAYan online payment solution that was designed by young Engineers in Ethiopia, is unlocking e-commerce possibilities in the country.

The second most populous nation in Africa with a median age of 18, Ethiopia spends an average of 12% of its annual budget on education, this according to the World Bank. Add to this the fact a recent Deloitte report referred to Ethiopia as a ‘A Growing Miracle’ . According to this report, the African country is one of the top destinations for infrastructure investment.

While Ethiopia’s tech stature is developing rapidly, there are challenges that innovators and investors must overcome in order to be globally competitive. Infrastructure remains a major challenge and whilst Ethiopia might have the talent pool there is a gap in the form of resources, direction, mentorship, and business skills.

 

By Zekarias Amsalu

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