South Africa

South Africa is the only African representative among the BRICS economies that are deemed to represent the world's emerging markets and act as a counterweight to the G8 and G20 economies. South Africa has long been a leading light in showcasing political stability and the diversity of the African continent. The country successfully hosted Africa's first World Cup, which helped change the global perception of the continent, and it has been leading the innovation space with the introduction of prepaid airtime by Vodacom.

Before that, Mark Shuttleworth built Thawte in 1995 and sold it to Verisign in 1999 for more than half a billion dollars, opening the way for others to establish themselves from his investment vehicle. Fundamo, a mobile money financial services platform, which was partly owned by HBD (Mark Shuttleworth's investment vehicle), was acquired by Visa for USD110 million in 2011, and in that same year, Twangoo was acquired by Groupon for an undisclosed amount.

Earlier in 2015, Garmin, the satellite navigation multinational, bought iKubu, a backtracker bicycle radar technology company, and in May, Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, acquired Woothemes, a WordPress plug-in, for USD30 million. These acquisitions made South Africa the country with the most acquisitions among the KINGS' economies and confirm South Africa's leadership in building global technology companies.

Cape Town has been dominant in tech innovation, both in Stellenbosch and now in Woodstock, an old industrial estate that recently emerged as South Africa's Silicon Valley. Johannesburg has been experiencing its own regeneration and is inching into the tech innovation space with locations in the Maboneng Precinct and 44 Stanley. The Innovation Hub in Pretoria is the government's innovation cluster, which houses all kinds of innovation activities, from water technology to any form of high tech.

Section 12J of the Income Tax Act of South Africa allows investors to write off 100 % of their investment capital against their taxable income in the year in which they make an early-stage investment. The policy has resulted in the formation of a venture capital fund called Grovest that is investing in early-stage companies using the tax write-off as an incentive for its investors.

Invenfin, AngelHub Ventures, 4Di Capital, Team Africa Ventures, Silver Tree Capital, and Knife Capital are some of the other funds that have being seeding early-stage tech companies. They target start-ups in incubators, accelerators, and hubs such as JoziHub and Seed Engine (in Johannesburg) and Bandwidth Barn and 88mph (in Cape Town).

Naspers is a model of a successful next-generation South African company. With a market capitalization of more than USD66 billion, Naspers is regarded as the largest company in Africa. It recently became the biggest publicly traded company by market value in Africa through the sale of bonds to fund emerging market internet acquisitions. It has been making global acquisitions as consumers make the switch to mobile and smart devices for activities such as shopping and banking. Naspers already has an impressive portfolio that cuts across internet media, television, internet services, and the print media with companies such as OLX, Flipkart, Allegro, Ibibo, SuperSport, MultiChoice, MWEB, and Media24.