African Startups Raised Over $4 Billion in 2021, 2.5 Times More Than in 2020

A. Fintech startups made up over half of this funding. B. The developer ecosystem in Nigeria is thriving thanks to strong demand for developer talent.


Google has revealed that Africa’s developer ecosystem is growing, despite the ongoing pandemic.

The development matches a study done across 16 countries in the continent.

The outcomes of the study have been rounded up in a report titled Africa Developer Ecosystem Report 2021.

The report highlights that demand for African developers reached a record high in 2021 against the backdrop of a global economic crisis and the impact of the pandemic.

With increased (+22%) use of the internet among small and medium businesses (SMBs) on the continent, the need for web development services also increased alongside higher demand for remote development work (38% of African developers work for at least one company based outside of the continent).

This is evidenced by the magnitude of growth in Nigeria’s professional developer population which added an estimated 5,000 new professional developers to its pool in 2021.  

Following a series of initiatives (including developer advocacy, startup acceleration, training programmes, and global technical mentorship) that Google has implemented over the last 10 years, the search giant aims to train 100,000 developers across the continent by 2022.

To date, the African continent is home to more than 150 active Google Developer Groups and 100 Developer Student Clubs in Africa.

Combined, these groups reach over 200,000 community members in 40 of the 48 countries in the Sub-Saharan African region.

Additional highlights include the following:

  • African startups raised over $4 billion in 2021, 2.5 times more than in 2020, with fintech startups making up over half of this funding. The shift to remote work also created more employment opportunities across time zones and continents for African developers while lifting the pay for senior talent. As a result, international companies are now recruiting African developers at record rates.
  • The developer ecosystem in Nigeria is thriving thanks to strong demand for developer talent, significant support from big tech, and startups raising the largest total amount of funding on the continent in 2021. As countries like Nigeria continue to transform, they will unlock more opportunities for developers who, in turn, grow the economy. 
  • Despite a contracting economy, the pool of professional developers increased by 3.8% to make up 0.4% of the continent’s non-agricultural workforce. Salaries and compensation also rose, and more developers secured full-time jobs.