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15 African technology startups to watch in 2014

Story highlights

  • Toby Shapshak has selected the most exciting African startups to watch this year
  • Click through the gallery to find out which ones make the list

Africa is not just a mobile-first continent. It is mobile-only.

As such, many of the most innovative startups address mobile for what it is: the gold of today, the new, digital equivalent of a railroad.

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Drawing up this list, I was struck by how readily I thought of good South African tech firms that deserved to be here -- so I shamelessly let my patriotic fervor guide me. Looking back, I still think they all deserve to be on this list.

Toby Shapshak

Several of the names on this list come from the final 40 of this year's Demo Africa the African arm of this renowned launch event for tech start-ups, held in Nairobi.

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    The most recent figures for mobile and internet usage are promising, and show room for growth. "Only 16 percent of the Africa's one billion people are currently online, but that share is rising. More than 720-million Africans have mobile phones, 167-million already use the Internet, and 52-million are on Facebook," reported consultancy McKinsey, in a report entitled " Lions go Digital: The Internet's transformative potential in Africa."

    Click through the gallery above to see, in no particular order, the innovative companies at the forefront of Africa's tech revolution.

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      African Start-Up

    • Taxis remain a common mode of getting around in many African cities. Is this three-wheeler about to change that?
    • Christine Mbabazi started designing clothes in her bedroom, now a store owner, she has bigger plans; to become household name.
    • War long made Goma a difficult place to live in, but one woman has set out to change that -- and she's using soft croissants and fresh coffee.
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      Meet Kemi Kalikawe, the owner of Naledi Lifestyle Store which specializes in fashion and household items in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
    • Translating local charm into eye-catching designs, Definition Africa is a booming t-shirt retailer staying true to its Ugandan roots.
    • See the full coverage of CNN's African Start-Up -- the show that follows entrepreneurs across the continent making their dreams become reality.