• According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Kenya’s so-called Silicon Savannah is unrivalled in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Kenya’s innovative strength has been attributed to startups’ easy access to credit and microfinance loans.
  • In the whole of Africa, South Africa took the crown followed by Kenya and Mauritius was ranked third.

Kenya is the leading tech hub in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Kenya’s so-called Silicon Savannah is unrivalled in Sub-Saharan Africa and only comes second to South Africa’s.

“Kenya has a track record for recording high levels of innovation, outperforming on levels of innovation relative to GDP for the ninth consecutive year, an excellent record at par with other lower-middle-income countries like India, the Republic of Moldova, and Vietnam,” reads WIPO’s latest Global Innovation Index (GII) 2019 report.

Since it was founded in 2010, iHub has launched as many as 170 startups.
Since it was founded in 2010, iHub has launched as many as 170 startups.

Kenya’s innovative strength has been attributed to startups’ easy access to credit and microfinance loans.

“As in previous years, Africa shines in terms of innovation relative to level of development. Out of the 18 innovation achievers identified in the GII 2019, six (the most from any one region) are from the sub-Saharan African region,” says the report.

Cape Town, South-Africa
Cape Town, South-Africa

In the whole of Africa, South Africa took the crown followed by Kenya and Mauritius was ranked third.

“Importantly, Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi, and Madagascar stand out for being innovation achievers at least three times in the previous eight years.”

Port Louis, Capital of Mauritius
Port Louis, Capital of Mauritius

Globally, Switzerland continues to be the leading innovation hub in 2019 followed by Sweden and US respectively. South Africa was ranked 63, Kenya at 77, and Mauritius at number 82 globally.

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Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock

When comparing levels of innovation to the level of economic development, India, Vietnam, Kenya, and the Republic of Moldova stood out for outperforming on innovation relative to GDP for the ninth consecutive year, which is a new record.

“While Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden effectively translate their innovation inputs into a higher level of outputs. Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, for example, produce lower levels of output relative to their innovation inputs,” says the study.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Headquarters. (Flickr)
World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Headquarters. (Flickr)

Overall, the survey notes that innovation is blossoming around the world. 

In developed and developing economies alike, formal innovation as measured by research and development and patents — and less formal modes of innovation are thriving.