LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – AFRICA, KIGALI: Smart Africa adviser Jean-Philbert Nsengimana (pictured) declared something phenomenal is happening on the continent, as technology startups attracted around 14-times more investment in 2017 than five years previously.

Discussing Africa’s startup scene, Nsengimana said any problems were “not going to be solved by aid or charity, but by a combination of business, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

During 2017, African startups received $560 million in investment, double the sum of 2016 and 14-times higher than the amount raised in 2012.

“You may argue that is nothing compared to what is being invested in startups in Silicon Valley and in China,” Nsengimana said. “I would not contest that, but it does point to something important: that something bright is happening in the African tech startup ecosystem.”

During the session, a number of startups and entrepreneurs highlighted their achievements within Africa, including work with some of the most vulnerable groups.

Among the examples was young woman inclusion programme Girl Effect; Kenya-based employment platform Lynk; and app-tracked courier service Musanga.

Joshua Mwaniki, training provider Andela’s country director for Kenya, added the current climate was ripe for young people: “In the middle of a digital revolution whoever has the talent wins, and we’re trying to find the best talent, equip them and place them within companies.”

“When you look at the big sectors in Africa, traditionally to have success you need access to resources, or people with resources,” he added. However access to technology “is changing the narrative.”