In the past 4 years, crowdfunding –commonly described as the process of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions online from a large number of people- has been slowly gaining momentum in Africa. The African crowdfunding market is estimated at $126.9 million in 2015.
Overview of Africa-based Crowdfunding Platforms
There were 57 active crowdfunding platforms headquartered and operating in Africa in 2015. South Africa leads the way in African online alternative finance, and has 21 operational crowdfunding portals. Nigeria comes second with 9 crowdfunding platforms. In 2015, the African crowdfunding market was composed of 21 donations based-platforms, 19 equity platforms, 13 rewards-based portals, 2 peer-to-peer lending platforms, and 2 hybrid platforms.
Donations and equity platforms are the fastest growing crowdfunding models. Africa-based crowdfunding platforms mainly specialise in promoting crowdfunding campaigns related to social causes (31.5% of the total platforms), business and entrepreneurship projects (21%), and then creative and innovative projects (17.5%).
Performance of Africa-based Crowdfunding Platforms
The total crowdfunding market for Africa-based platforms is estimated at $32.3 million in 2015, which is less than 0.1% of the global crowdfunding activity. Crowdfunding platforms in South Africa raised about $30.8 million. Egypt came second with $842,000 raised, then Nigeria with $314,445 raised in 2015. Money raised by Africa-based crowdfunding portals was primarily directed to fund startups and SMEs ($17.7 million), real estate crowd invested projects ($13.6 million), travel crowdfunded trips ($319,434), and to donate to social causes and charity projects ($307,860).
Over 4,939 crowdfunding campaigns were launched by Africa-based platforms in 2015. Most projects were filled by peer-to-peer lending platforms, although they only account for 4% of the total platforms. Africa-based crowdfunding platforms achieved to fund on average 67% of the projects launched on their websites. The most successfully funded projects were for business and personal loans (95% success rate) and projects geared to support social causes (84% success rate).
Foreign Crowdfunding Platforms Operating in Africa
Crowdfunding platforms founded and headquartered outside Africa, such as Kiva or Betterplace.org, raised $94.6 million in 2015 to fund various projects in Africa, primarily via donations ($48 million) and loans ($42.2 million). Foreign crowdfunding platforms were keener to fund projects with a social impact. Such projects were directed to help children ($14 million), to support several educational initiatives ($13.5 million), and to empower women and girls ($10.8 million). Top recipient countries of the money raised by foreign crowdfunding platforms were clustered in East Africa and West Africa. Kenya was the top recipient of funds, with $21.7 million channelled in 2015 to support various social causes and community projects. Rwanda and Uganda were also the top favoured funding destinations, and received each respectively $8.7 million and $8.4 million.
One major trend in the African crowdfunding space is the increased specialisation of foreign platforms in serving exclusively the African market. At least 14 platforms are primarily focused in funding projects across Africa, and do not serve other developing economies. Such platforms are founded and operate mainly from Europe.
The African crowdfunding market is set to increase: money raised by crowdfunding platforms operating in Africa (both Africa-based platforms and foreign platforms funding projects in Africa) is projected at $190 million in 2016, based on AlliedCrowds estimations. The overall market potential of the crowdfunding market in SubSaharan Africa is estimated at $2.5 billion by 2025, according to the World Bank.