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Jono DuguidOct 6, 2021 1:57:00 PM4 min read

Cape Town Establishes Itself as Africa's Silicon Valley

South Africa's metropolis on the Cape of Good Hope has a world-class digital ecosystem

‍Cape Town - the Silicon Valley of Africa: You probably already knew: We at R17 Ventures also have an office in Cape Town in addition to our office in Zürich. Why, you ask? Well, we are not the only ones who have recognised the potential of the South African metropolis. Read here why we decided to move our second location to Cape Town. 

It is here that resources and talent meet economic and social opportunities, increasingly establishing the Western Cape as a global digital region. With over 450 technology companies, the digital stronghold employs more than 40,000 people.

Cape Town is one of the fastest growing regions in the world for foreign direct investment, according to a report by the Financial Times Group. The ranking also gives South Africa first place in Africa for economic potential, start-up status and ease of doing business. The World Bank found in a study that digital technologies are responsible for about a third of GDP growth in high-income countries, but only half of that in developing countries because they are used less intensively.

In the same study, the World Bank called on South Africa to create more than ZAR 5 trillion in value over the next ten years through the use of digital technologies in key sectors such as agriculture, public infrastructure and administration, financial services and manufacturing. And looking at the developments in Cape Town, this call is not that far-fetched.

Technology companies - from start-ups to scale-ups to established organisations - are key with their digital practices. The Western Cape is already one of the best performing regions for technology start-ups on the continent. The sector boasts some of the most exciting and fastest growing companies and there is clear evidence that the Cape Town/Stellenbosch region already employs more than twice as many people in the tech sector than Nairobi and Lagos combined.

The digital economy represents one of the Western Cape's competitive advantages in attracting investment to the province, promoting foreign trade in digital products and skills, and improving the adoption and use of digital technologies among Western Cape businesses.


Cape Town is a melting pot of skills, talent and innovation

Cape Town is home to four world-class universities: The University of Cape Town remains the best university in Africa, and Stellenbosch University was ranked the third best university on the continent in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021. Students from all over the world come to study in Cape Town - many of them in the digital field. 

Cape Town also boasts a number of successful start-ups that showcase the diversity of businesses emerging in the sector, including Aerobotics, a drone-based data analytics company that helps farmers gain deeper insights into their yields and land use, and Jumo, a company that facilitates digital financial services such as loans and savings in emerging markets.

It is no surprise that more and more international tech giants such as Google and Amazon are investing in the tech ecosystem in and around Cape Town. The melting pot of skills, talent and innovation offers the ideal conditions to boost the export of technology products and services and to raise awareness of career opportunities in the technology sector.

Google invests $150 million in Cape Town

Google's new undersea fibre optic cable is being laid in Cape Town, cementing the metropolis' position as Africa's technology hub. The tech giant is investing ZAR 2.2 billion to provide South Africa with high-speed internet.

It will be connected to the new cable that stretches from Portugal. The cable has 20 times the capacity of the one currently connecting Europe to South Africa. Google's investment came against the backdrop of the recent Presidential Investment Summit, where many other multinational companies also pledged investments. 


Amazon sets up its new headquarters in Cape Town

The new Amazon headquarters will create over 40 000 jobs in the region, boosting Cape Town's economic comeback after Covid-related losses. Amazon is investing $335 million in a giant mixed-use project that will be the retail giant's new home in Africa.

The development concept envisages a 150,000 square metre site divided into two districts for both commercial and residential use, including office buildings, retail space, restaurants, conference rooms, schools and event spaces, as well as a hotel and a gym.

The Silicon Cape is a catalyst for technology in Cape Town

Based in Stellenbosch near Cape Town, the community of tech entrepreneurs, developers, creatives, angel investors and venture capitalists is an initiative that has partnered with industry leaders to spread technological innovation and knowledge in the industry.

Membership is open to all and offers access to start-up support programmes, community networks and coworking spaces in South Africa, among other things. Above all, innovative companies that offer new technology products and services are playing a decisive role in defining Cape Town's role as a tech stronghold for the future of South Africa. 

The Silicon Cape is an ecosystem in South Africa's Western Cape that serves to attract and bring together local and foreign investors, the best tech talent and the most promising entrepreneurs. In doing so, it creates an environment that rivals similar international centres, such as Dubai, in the midst of one of the world's most beautiful landscapes and hippest lifestyle metropolises. 

And we at R17 Ventures are also taking advantage of Cape Town's digital infrastructure 

We are a team of highly qualified, international specialists in the fields of performance marketing, e-commerce development, design and usability. Our experts come from Switzerland, Germany and South Africa and ensure that your online business grows and evolves with the best practices of the digital world. 


Jono Duguid

Senior Business Development Manager - 12yrs+ Experience in Digital Marketing