Wasoko Launches an Innovation Hub in Zanzibar

There has been steady progress in the African FinTech space with more companies and startups getting involved over the years. Wasoko, is another African e-commerce startup leveraging innovative technology to transform the informal retail supply chain. 

Wasoko has recently announced the official launch of the “Wasoko Innovation Hub” in partnership with the Zanzibar government. Let’s get to see more details.

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What is Wasoko?

The company is basically a startup that connects small shops to the e-commerce industry. The company intends to help entrepreneurs in emerging markets connect with the digital world, increase sales and gain market coverage.

Since its inception in 2016, Wasoko has delivered 3 million orders to over 75,000 informal retailers across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal.

The Hub

The Wasoko Innovation Hub is the first and one-of-a-kind private-public partnership between an African tech startup and the Zanzibar government for “Silicon Zanzibar” – a new government initiative to attract and relocate tech companies from across Africa to the island. As part of the launch, Wasoko becomes Silicon Zanzibar’s first anchor company and official private sector ambassador.

The new hub will be located in Fumba Town, Zanzibar, and will focus on building world-class tech solutions that will drive Africa’s e-commerce industry for years to come, becoming home to over 500 visionary engineers, product managers, UX designers, and researchers from all over Africa and across the globe

In addition to strengthening Wasoko’s operational efficiency, the new Hub will specialize in developing tools to personalize customer experiences. The hub will also improve delivery metrics, expand financial services options as well as collect key data and insights from across the value chain. 

As a Pan-African tech company, Wasoko has been looking for a location where we can bring together the best talent from across the continent and beyond to innovate and develop new products and services for our customers. While we considered more traditional centers such as Dubai and London, we were ultimately committed to the belief that technology for Africa should be built in Africa.

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Daniel Yu, CEO and Founder at Wasoko

“Through our new partnership, we’re proud to be working alongside a government that is heavily invested in supporting this mission and are honored to be a founding partner for Silicon Zanzibar. We strongly believe Wasoko will be the first in a long line of tech companies to establish a presence on the island.”  


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The location will become the main hub for Silicon Zanzibar, which will streamline the issuance of work visas to skilled tech workers from across Africa and beyond to relocate to Zanzibar. Zanzibar is renowned as one of the world’s top tourism destinations, with direct flights to over 20 destinations across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In order to further attract tech companies, the government will also offer strong incentives under the country’s existing Free Economic Zone program including an exemption from corporate income tax for ten years. 

No longer will tech companies need to open offices and move their people to Dubai or London to manage their operations in Africa. We are providing an open and enabling environment for all tech companies and their team members to be based in Zanzibar—one of the world’s most attractive destinations — allowing everyone building tech for Africa to be based in Africa. We are excited to officially partner with Wasoko and other tech companies coming to Zanzibar to co-create policies and initiatives that will transform Zanzibar into a leading tech center for the African continent.

Mudrick Soraga, Zanzibar Minister of Investment & Economic Development

Conclusion

The launch of the Wasoko Innovation Hub marks the latest milestone in its rapid growth journey, which saw the startup named Africa’s fastest growing company by the Financial Times in May 2022. 

Such tech and innovation hubs gave transformed entrepreneurs, businesses, etc and provided ground for more upcoming startups and the developer ecosystem in Africa.

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