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An Increase in Chinese Private Investment in Africa

While some of China’s more traditional tech companies, particularly those involved in fintech and handsets, won in 2019, this year promises a more dynamic array of Chinese private investment in Africa. Fueling this investment is China’s “Starboard” or “Science and Technology Board”, China’s six-month old NASDAQ-style stock exchange. Africa’s top mobile phone seller, Transsion, raised $400 million in its multibillion dollar IPO in September. The Shenzhen-based company is the poster child for how a Chinese company could build the majority of its value around African consumers or business customers even though it has next to no market back home in China. Artificial intelligence-driven facial and speech recognition companies are also promising to dive into Africa’s tech sector this decade. Much of the AI-driven tech found in Africa to date was sold from (semi) private Chinese tech companies to African governments, for example Zimbabwe’s deal with Cloudwalk.