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Kenneth Hogrefe CEO & Founder, Tech Africa

ANGOLA - Real Estate & Construction

Kenneth Hogrefe

CEO & Founder, Tech Africa

Bio

Kenneth Hogrefe is a Danish-born entrepreneur living in Angola. He became a pioneer in Angola’s start-up ecosystem and founded Tech Africa, the country’s first venture capital-backed start-up in 2015. His professional career started in the property business, working for EDC in Denmark and on international property projects in Greece and Portugal. His academic background includes an international business degree and an IBA in financial management studies in Denmark.

"In 2012, I created the first digital marketplaces in the country to bridge the gap between offline and online automotive and real estate business."
Tech Africa is specialized in building digital marketplaces with a portfolio that includes Angola’s leading property and automotive portals: Angocasa.com and Angocarro.com.
Tech Africa is an international tech company with expertise in digital marketplaces. How did the company begin in Angola?

In 2012, I created the first digital marketplaces in the country to bridge the gap between offline and online automotive and real estate business. I wanted to create an easier and more secure way for buyers to connect with trusted sellers. Tech Africa was founded in 2015 and became Angola’s first venture capital-backed tech company. The funds were channeled toward developing new marketing strategies, products and services that positioned AngoCasa and AngoCarro as the preferred automotive and property portals in Angola. In 2017, AngoCasa completed the acquisition of Jumia House Angola, consolidating its position as the leading portal in Angola. In 2022, it was awarded Top Property Portals of Africa by Property Portal Watch. Today, Tech Africa is the leading marketplace operator in Angola, and our portfolio also includes Welcome to Angola (tourism), Quitanda (classified), and Boa Estadia (short rental). Our digital marketplace business model is highly scalable and creates a positive impact in Angola by bridging the gap between the formal and informal economy.

How can digital marketplaces contribute to the digital revolution in Africa?

Digital marketplace platforms that match trusted buyers and sellers can raise incomes and boost inclusive economic growth with minimal disruption to existing businesses and workforce norms. According to a report, growth in online marketplaces will merely cannibalize the sales of brick-and-mortar retailers are misplaced in the case of Africa. There are only 15 stores per one million inhabitants in Africa, compared with 568 per million in Europe and 930 in the US. This extremely low penetration suggests that there is minimal risk that e-commerce will displace existing retailers and that much of the population is underserved. Online marketplaces are a good illustration of how the digital revolution can create economic opportunity and improve social welfare in Africa. The public sector and online marketplace communities should engage in discussions to achieve a common understanding of the opportunities for job creation, skill development, and inclusive growth. Both sides also must clearly understand each other’s concerns and needs—as well as the impact that can be achieved by addressing them. Online marketplaces could share aggregated, anonymous data that is beneficial for urban development, for example. Considerable work must be done at many levels to ensure that these platforms fulfill their potential to become an important source of new jobs. Instead of being seen as forces of chaotic disruption, online marketplaces should be allowed to develop in an environment that is designed from the outset to bring economic and social benefits to all.

What are the current investment opportunities in the sectors you operate?

AngoCasa recently launched the Angola Property Report 2023 that provides international investors an insight into the real estate investment opportunities and the improving economic climate in Angola. In 2017, Angola’s capital Luanda ranked as the world’s most expensive city for expats, ahead of cities like Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore, and the capital’s real estate prices ranked highest in Africa and among the top worldwide. Meanwhile, in recent years property prices have plummeted and now offers immense real estate investments opportunities. Luanda is on track to becoming Africa’s next megacity with more than 10 million people. For the most part, FDI inflows to Africa have generally been attributed to five factors: regulations (ease of doing business), the general investment climate, broader economic reforms, information communication and technology development, and infrastructure improvements. Angola is making improvements on all these fronts and sees a high level of interest as an investment destination from investors from across the globe. Interest in Angola has also widened, with all 18 provinces being considered for investment and a wider range of industries being targeted in the country.

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