Less than 10% of African tech startups led by female CEO, report shows

Less than 10% of African tech startups led by female CEO, report shows

Fewer than 10 per cent of African tech startups are led by a female CEO, while less than 15 per cent even have a female co-founder, according to a groundbreaking study on gender diversity released by Disrupt Africa.

The article discusses a study conducted by Disrupt Africa that examines gender diversity in the African tech startup ecosystem. The study reveals that less than 10% of African tech startups have a female CEO, and less than 15% have a female co-founder. The report, titled "Diversity Dividend: Exploring Gender Equality in the African Tech Ecosystem," highlights the lack of gender representation both in startup leadership positions and funding rounds on the continent.

The research project, supported by various organizations including Madica, FirstCheck Africa, TLcom Capital, and Google for Startups, emphasizes the need to address the gender imbalance in the African tech industry. Among the 2,395 startups analyzed, only 350 (14.6%) have a female co-founder, and a mere 230 (9.6%) have a woman CEO.

The report reveals that the gender diversity situation varies across countries, with no single market having more than 23% of startups with a female co-founder or CEO. Smaller ecosystems, such as Zambia, Rwanda, Tunisia, and Senegal, show greater ratios of female leaders compared to larger tech hubs like South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya.

In terms of sectors, even the most diverse ones have female representation at relatively low levels, typically in the mid-to-low twenties percentage range. Sectors such as legal-tech, e-health, recruitment and HR, ed-tech, and e-commerce and retail-tech demonstrate better gender diversity. However, fintech, which is a prominent vertical with significant investment, performs poorly in terms of female representation, with only 13.8% of fintech ventures having a female co-founder and just 7.6% having a woman CEO.

The study underscores the urgent need for creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in the African tech startup ecosystem. It highlights the potential for growth and innovation that can be unlocked by increasing gender diversity and calls for concerted efforts to bridge the gender gap in leadership positions within the industry.

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