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The Rise of Coworking Spaces in Africa

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Africa is presently experiencing a dynamic increase in the coworking industry and I think it would continue to grow compared to what we have seen, since its inception in the mid-2000. Just within a decade, there are over 250 coworking spaces in Africa, with 80% of these spaces springing up in the last 3 years. According to a research done by Coworking Africa, the coworking business is expected to see a boom. This exponential growth is attributed to 70% of the total population of Africa which are the millennials and also the many opportunities currently flooding the continent. Here’s an overview of how the coworking industry is doing in some African countries.

In Nigeria, the business is changing rapidly and lots of cool spaces are opening doors to entrepreneurs day after day. The most interesting part is that, all these spaces have their own unique business model and basic pricing plans. For example, a hub called 360Creative Hub launched in October 2016 to help fashion entrepreneurs access their own private space where they can work on designs and find specific machines they need for production. 

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This guest post is written by Damilola Aransiola. She is the co-founder of Talking Bookz and the lead consultant on content marketing at Lagos' coworking space Leadspace

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Co-creation Hub, which is the first coworking space in Nigeria has also extended its services to Abuja (the federal capital of the country), and many other spaces like Leadspace, Redahlia Workspace, Lagos Co-work all emerged into the coworking scene in the past few months. By my own count, there are more than 15 coworking spaces in Nigeria. Here is a comprehensive list of some of the spaces in the country.

According to Coworking Africa, Egypt houses the most coworking space in the continent with more than 76 shared office spaces in 2016. A prominent one in Cairo, called The District opened its doors to startups in 2011, which have attracted other shared office spaces to the capital, making the city the frontier of coworking spaces in the region. 

The popularity of share office spaces in South Africa has soared in recent years which is having enormous impact on entrepreneurship in the country. Many entrepreneurs now prefer using a coworking space compared to working from home or a nearby coffee shop. 

Last year, there were about 67 coworking spaces in South Africa, in which more than half of these spaces are found in Capetown, making it the second largest country with shared office spaces after Egypt. Whenever you are in South Africa, you can visit these coworking spaces; Bandwith Barn, Twenty Fifty, Jozi Hub, and Hubspace. You would see for yourself the energy amongst these entrepreneurs. 

In Febuary 2016, Hapaweb Solution, an IT solution company launched Kumasi’s first coworking space in Ghana called HapaSpace adding to the number of the total shared office space in Ghana and Africa.

You need to see the aesthetics on the rooftop in Nairobi’s pawa254 space, I think its breath taking. It’s not just about the beauty of the work space alone, but also the amazing people the hub brings together. Pawa254 has carved a niche for itself as a dynamic space for artists, rather than for techies. 

As one of the most innovative company in Africa named by Fast company in 2014, iHub is on top of its game. The coworking space has been in existence for more than 6 years and has currently over 50 permanent staff- and 14,000 members.

In Morocco, Sundesk launched a co-living and a coworking space in a small fishing village in Taghazout which is also great for surfers. You can imagine how tranquil this would be. iNSANE (is the first coworking space in the country), Netspace, Workspot, and TechVerse are amongst the 17 coworking spaces in Morocco.

Ethopia is the only country in Africa that was never colonized, yet its tech scene is far behind a lot of countries on the continent. The reason for this isn’t surprising, considering the country has less than 6% internet penetration and 30% mobile phone penetration. IceAdiss didn’t see this as a stumbling block, they saw an opportunity and created the first coworking space in Addis Abba which host a number of startups and entrepreneurs in the country. 

Many coworking spaces are springing up all around the continent and they all have proven to be an essential tool for young entrepreneurs, allowing them access to valuable resources, skills, knowledge, and infrastructure at a minimal cost.

Have you recently visited any new coworking space in Africa that isn’t mentioned here? Please kindly share your experience.

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