Technology ministers from Algeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Botswana, and Nigeria have unveiled plans for a startup visa, African Charter and the development of a Pan-African startup strategy aimed at supporting innovation and curbing the wave of brain drain across the continent.
The announcement was made after a panel session at the second edition of the African Startup Conference held in Algiers from December 5 to December 7, 2023.
Startup Visa to Boost Mobility and Innovation
During the conference, the ministers revealed details of a proposed startup visa designed to facilitate the free movement of startups across the continent. This innovative approach seeks to enhance the mobility of young entrepreneurs and foster a borderless Africa, aligning with the broader vision of free movement of people and trade.
Drawing inspiration from successful models in Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands, the startup visa is set to attract tech talents, innovators, and investors to fuel Africa’s growing startup ecosystem.
Addressing Brain Drain with an African Charter
Acknowledging the issue of brain drain, the ministers unanimously agreed to initiate negotiations for an African Charter specifically addressing this challenge. The charter aims to empower African nations to retain their brightest minds by implementing strategic policies and engaging in collaborative efforts to develop and support local talent.
Recent statistics from the African Youth Survey 2022 indicate that 52% of young Africans are considering emigrating, citing economic hardship and perceived better opportunities in North America and Europe.
Pan-African Startup Strategy for Enhanced Collaboration
Seeking to bolster startup growth, the ministers also announced the development of a Pan-African Startup Strategy. This strategy will focus on creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, implementing support programs, and fostering collaboration across regions.
Additionally, the ministers proposed the establishment of an African Founders Fund, dedicated to providing essential financial resources to promising startups continent-wide. This initiative is expected to accelerate the growth of the African tech landscape.
These new developments join other recent efforts to support African startups, including Nigeria’s launch of a $672 million fund under the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) in March.
The creation of a Pan-African Startup Strategy and an African Founders Fund falls in line with recent focus to nurture homegrown talent, foster innovation, and position Africa as a global hub for technological advancements.