In collaboration with the government of Zanzibar, Wasoko, the largest B2B e-commerce network in Africa, has opened the “Wasoko Innovation Hub.”
The new Hub, which is located in Fumba Town, Zanzibar, will be home to over 500 forward-thinking engineers, product managers, UX designers, and researchers from Africa and around the world. Its focus will be on developing top-notch tech solutions that will power Africa’s e-commerce industry for years to come.
The Wasoko Innovation Hub is the first private-public collaboration between a tech startup in Africa and the government of Zanzibar for “Silicon Zanzibar,” a new government drive to entice and bring tech firms from all over Africa to the island. Wasoko joins the launch as the first anchor company and recognized representative of the private sector for Silicon Zanzibar.
Speaking on the launch of the Innovation Hub, Daniel Yu, CEO and Founder at Wasoko, said that the startup has remained steadfast in its conviction that technology for Africa should be developed in Africa. He also added that the startup was convinced of its choice location for the initiative.
“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 centres such as Dubai and London, we were ultimately committed to the belief that technology for Africa should be built in Africa.
“Through our new partnership, we’re proud to be working alongside a government which is heavily invested in supporting this mission and are honoured 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,” said Yu.
What the Wasoko Innivation Hub Offers
The project intends to elevate the island into a leading hub for Pan-African tech companies. With direct flights to more than 20 locations in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Zanzibar is known as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The site, which serves as Silicon Zanzibar’s main center, will make it easier to issue work visas to qualified tech employees from all around Africa and beyond who wish to relocate to Zanzibar.
The Wasoko Innovation Hub will be a part of the ongoing development project in Fumba Town, which is being overseen by the German engineering company CPS. The project involves building hundreds of contemporary homes and businesses along a 1.5 km stretch of the ocean shore, and Fumba Town is only 15 minutes south of the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.
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.
Mudrick Soraga, Zanzibar Minister of Investment & Economic Development, adds “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 centre for the African continent.”
Wasoko Innovation Hub will focus on building world-class tech solutions that will drive Africa’s e-commerce industry for years to come.