Becoming an African Techpreneur: Geopolitics of Investments in “Local” Kenyan Entrepreneurship

  • Angela Okune
  • Leonida Mutuku


Entrepreneurs in Kenya are heterogenous, with diverse backgrounds, career goals, and personal histories. However, during five years of working long hours at the iHub, Nairobi’s co-working space for technology entrepreneurs, we observed the emergence of the trope of the “Kenyan Techpreneur” that came to be latched onto by the state, development aid, and philanthropic sectors and gained its own circulatory power. Through an analysis of the figure of the Kenyan “Techpreneur” and its production in Nairobi, this paper reveals how imperial logics and structures continue to underpin apparently independent initiative, pointing to the limits of thinking in simple binary terms and to a need for inventive, cosmopolitan constructs of Kenyan entrepreneurism. In recent years, Kenyans figured as Techpreneurs have contested the narrow construction of its parameters, which ironically appear to disproportionately benefit non-Africans working in the Kenyan tech sector. Describing some of the quotidian ways that transnational geopolitics and capital continue to heavily shape what happens within the bounds of the nation-state and the “local” Kenyan tech scene, we seek to emphasize how the local is in fact heavily tied up with enduring imperial formations of neoliberal development. This is an important prompt for a global STS to bring new, more complex subjects into relief.


Data Availability

Supplemental data published in this original research article can be accessed in STS Infrastructures at:


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