Executive Summary

Deep-tech refers to solutions that are based on scientific discoveries and that enable us to solve complex problems. Deep-tech startups are using cutting-edge technology such as Ubiquitous Compute; Pervasive connectivity; Artificial Intelligence; and Cloud to Edge Infrastructure among others; to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues, from climate change to healthcare. The deep-tech ecosystem in Africa is growing, driven by the development of new applications and the integration with existing products in various sectors notably in agriculture, fintech, e-commerce, mobility, and logistics. However, certain factors have slowed or completely hindered innovation in the industry. These factors range from a lack of adequate support systems for deep-tech, the cost of research and development (R&D) associated with a lot of deep-tech products, and a lack of funding for startups in the industry, among other reasons. Some of the approaches needed to solve these setbacks and enable the industry to grow include increasing access to support structures and funding opportunities for deep-tech startups and businesses, fostering collaboration between different stakeholders in the space, and building up the necessary infrastructure needed for the industry to flourish. The deep-tech support ecosystem is mostly made up of different players, the core being hubs which typically run from an average of 3 to 12 months, offering training and capital to the cohorts. While this type of support helps companies gain credibility, traction, and the resources to get off the ground, deep-tech companies could arguably reap more benefits from specialised hubs that are targeted at the industry or to specific technologies and aspects that make up the sector. Although some hubs may offer programmes and host deep-tech communities, there is still a need for more specialised hubs or hub programmes to grow the sector. While sector agnostic hubs may provide more generalised support, specialised hubs may be better positioned to provide expert knowledge and resources catered to deep-tech. Some of the major gaps identified include a lack of tailored support to deep-tech startups and gaps in training and talent, but the major challenge remains the difficulty in raising funding for these startups. Deep-tech poses a higher risk to investors, and as a result, there are no identified investors with a deep-tech focus operating in the continent. Investments into startups that employ deep-tech products are mostly as a result of the investor’s interest in other sectors or verticals e.g., Fintech and agriculture which deep- tech happens to cut across.

There are a few countries across Africa (e.g., Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tunisia) that are most suitable for a deep-tech incubation programme, due to their more



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