AFD began its operations in Ghana in 1985, opening its first representation in an English speaking country. Since 1986, AFD has concentrated its operations on major economic infrastructure development projects in the country, mainly in the telecommunications, transport and energy sectors. Photo © Paul Williams
The Agence Française de Développement and Bpifrance have together launched a digital innovation competition open to African and French start-ups working for development in Africa
For the first time, the Agence Française de Développement, which for almost 75 years has been funding development projects in Africa, and Bpifrance, have joined forces to launch the "Digital Africa Start-up Challenge", an innovation competition to promote the development of digital start-ups in Africa. African and French start-ups have until 15 November 2016 to submit their applications in the fintech, health, environment-energy and agricultural sectors.
Applications may be submitted until 15 November 2016 via the Platform :
What motivated this challenge?
Africa is more and more connected, particularly due to the rapid adoption of mobile telephony, and has become a continent of digital innovation. The development of mobile payments and the increasing adoption of smart phones and broadband Internet are among the many factors that now enable digital entrepreneurs to propose new products and services in all economic sectors. The dynamism of digital ecosystems has led to an increase in the number of technological hubs, co-working units, laboratories and incubators, of which there are now more than 300 on the continent.
Given this context, the AFD and Bpifrance wanted to pool their experience in the financing of digital innovation and development. The "Startup Challenge Digital Africa" should encourage and support new players in the digital economy, accelerate the sharing of know-how and facilitate the emergence of new solutions for development.
Four sectors have been chosen for their dynamism and potential impact for development of the continent:
What are the rewards for the winners?
A jury will choose two start-up winners, one African and one French, in each of the four sectors (i.e. eight start-ups).
Another two start-ups, one African and one French will be selected by online voters.
In all, 10 start-ups will thus be rewarded.
They will be invited to come and present their project and meet partners during the 27th Africa-France Summit, to be held at Bamako on 13 and 14 January 2017.
How to apply?
African and French entrepreneurs should submit the key elements of their entrepreneurial project online at http://digitalafrica.afd.fr before 15 November 2016, and must indicate in which of the four categories they wish to compete, namely fintech, health, environment/energy or agriculture.
A qualified jury and two renowned sponsors
The jury will be made up of qualified African and French personalities and representatives of the AFD and Bpifrance. The Digital Africa Start-up Challenge is sponsored by two influential entrepreneurs in the world of technology and innovation: 14 January 2017.
An entrepreneur based in Dakar
Founder of the Jokkolabs network (the 1st African collaborative working space)
A French entrepreneur, Founder of Africa4Tech
First chairman of the French Digital Council France’s “Digital Champion” and one of the European Commission’s Digital Ambassadors
The AFD and Bpifrance
Rémy Rioux, Director General of the AFD claims: "Digital technology may be an incredible accelerator of sustainable development in Africa, on condition that each entrepreneur is able to benefit from the innovation springboard. The Agence Française de Développement wants to accompany this wave of transition, which offers new trajectories for growth, by supporting southern entrepreneurs whose projects are promising for the continent and by promoting interactions between northern and southern entrepreneurs. This is why the AFD and Bpifrance decided to work together to launch this competition."
Nicolas Dufourcq, Director General of Bpifrance, declares: "The technological leaps occurring in Africa and the emergence of a young middle-class have created exceptional development opportunities for African and French companies. We are proud to participate in this competition, which is in line with our actions for promoting the internationalisation of companies and cooperation with the African continent."
Bpifrance , a subsidiary of the Caisse des Dépôts and the French state, a trusted partner of French entrepreneurs, supports companies from start-up to flotation on the stock exchange by granting loans, acting as guarantor and by investing. Bpifrance also provides support services that reinforce innovation, external growth and exports, in partnership with Business France and Coface.
Bpifrance offers companies a complete range of financing for every key stage of their development, and offers that are adapted to regional specificities. With 47 regional branches (90% of decisions are taken in the regions), Bpifrance is an economic competitiveness tool at the service of entrepreneurs.
Bpifrance acts to implement French government policy and Regional policies in order to achieve three objectives:
- reinforce the growth of companies ;
- prepare their competitiveness for the future ;
- contribute to the development of an ecosystem that favours entrepreneurship.
In Bpifrance, companies have a powerful and effective partner, who follows their development closely in order to meet all of their needs for financing, innovation and investment.
Follow us on Twitter: @bpifrance
AFD has provided a concessional loan of 37.5 million Euros to the Government of Ghana to complete the upgrading of major road and drainage infrastructures in Kumasi. The Kumasi Roads and Drainage Extension Project will finalize the works undertaken under two previous projects financed by AFD, that is the Kumasi By-pass Project (construction of the Oforikrom-Asokwa by-pass and Lake Road) and the Second Urban Environmental and Sanitation Project (UESP II).
Reducing traffic jams and flooding
The road component of the project is expected to reduce traffic jams, save time for the road users thereby contributing to the overall improvement in the development of the region. The storm drain component of the project will tie in the 31-meter width channelized Aboabo Storm drain to the Lake Road culvert/bridge and extend the lined drain further downstream by 2 kilometres. All these are expected to reduce flooding with the resultant effect of increasing productivity and economic activity.
Government of Ghana’s commitment to Ghana-France cooperation
In her speech on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Hon. Seth Terkper, the Deputy Minister, Hon. Mona Quartey who represented the Government of Ghana, assured of Ghana’s unflinching commitment to the tenets of the bilateral cooperation between Ghana and France and H. E. John Dramani Mahama, the President of the Republic of Ghana’s efforts to pursuing prudent policies aimed at stabilizing the economy and also increasing the pace of the country’s transformation.
Development oriented projects France’s focus
According to H.E. François Pujolas, France will continue to support Ghana in its efforts to provide a better standard of living to its citizens through development oriented projects such as the Kumasi Extension Project. He also urged all parties involved in the execution of the project to work to ensure that the project is completed on schedule.
He also recalled that beyond support through AFD in terms of ODA projects, French expertise and businesses are ready to participate in PPP projects that will help develop Ghana’s infrastructure and shape the smart and sustainable cities of tomorrow.
The Credit Facility Agreement was signed in the presence of H. E. François Pujolas, by Hon. Mona Quartey on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Hon. Seth Terkper, and Xavier Muron, AFD’s Deputy Resident Manager, on 28th June 2016.
Mrs. Emmaline Ofosu and Ms. Paulina Bawa received from H.E. François Pujolas, French Ambassador to Ghana, the European Professional Master Certificate in "Economic Analysis and International Development” in Private Sector Financing from CEFEB (Centre for Financial, Economic and Banking studies).
Mrs. Emmaline Ofosu of Ecobank and Ms. Paulina Bawa of Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority responded to a call for submission of applications to the annual session sent to organisations from both public and private sectors of the economy, especially financial institutions and ministries.
Successful applicants get the opportunity to go to Marseilles – France, to do this professional Masters Programme. Each programme is broken down into two sessions of 2½ months each, within the year. Candidates are thus able to return to Ghana in between the two sessions to continue their official duties.
As noted by H.E. François Pujolas, the French Ambassador to Ghana, the quality of the human capital of every country been vital in determining its economic growth, France is particularly happy to contribute to the development and growth of Ghana through this French Scholarship Programme, managed by AFD.
For more information on CEFEB, click on http://www.afd.fr/lang/en/home or
Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), in partnership with AFD and MEST, is organizing the first ever Accra TroTro Apps Challenge on May 27-28. This competition brings together key players from the transport sector and the technology ecosystem to develop smartphone applications aimed at improving mobility in Accra. After 24 hours of brainstorming and coding, the jury will reward the most innovative solutions with cash prizes totaling 4,000 Ghana cedis.
With a current population of about 4 million and more than a million people commuting daily to the city for various socio-economic activities, Accra is faced with a significant public transport and mobility challenge. In 2015, AMA – in partnership with AFD and Concordia University (Canada) – gathered data on over 300 active trotro routes and hundreds of stops. This data will be officially made public for the first time at the TroTro Apps Challenge!
Every trotro route registered with local authorities was surveyed by a team of data collectors using GPS-enabled smartphones. This data was then used to design the first map of Accra’s transport network – unveiled by the Honorable Vanderpuije in December 2015.
This event is also meant to complement several infrastructure and transport projects currently being implemented in Accra. According to Mrs Amélie July, the Resident Manager of AFD, “In addition to financing new transport infrastructures and services – as we are doing on the Accra-Amasaman corridor, for instance – we want to promote a more efficient use of the existing transport system. That is what the Accra Trotro Apps Challenge is about: developing smarter ways for people to navigate the city using trotros”.
About the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)
Accra Metropolitan Assembly is the local government body at the heart of the Greater Accra. One of its various mandates is to regulate and plan trotro and taxi services in the metropolis through its Department of Transport.
About the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MESTGhana)
Recognized as Fast Company's "Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Africa, MEST provides training, investment and incubation for aspiring African tech entrepreneurs. Established in Ghana in 2008, MEST offers aspiring African entrepreneurs a fully sponsored twelve month, intensive full-time program. Sourced from top graduates in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya & South Africa, these Entrepreneurs-In-Training (EITs) are selected each year and receive comprehensive training across the spectrum of skills required to build successful tech businesses.
The 12th AFD International Conference on Development will be held in Paris, at AFD, on December 1-2, 2016.
Please note that the deadline for submissions has been postponed to Wednesday, July 1st, 2016.
Selected submissions will be announced by July 31, 2016. Final versions of papers must be submitted no later than October 31, 2016.
The aim of this conference is to bring together researchers and their work and to stimulate dialogue at the intersection between commons and development dynamics on an international scale through recourse to a variety of analytical frameworks and disciplines. What do commons teach us in terms of development impacts on countries of the South? How can we understand commons in terms of actors, legal models, and indicators? How can we describe commons in terms of interactions with the public, the business sector, and political arenas? How do commons enrich our understanding of global public goods?
This conference is organized in partnership with the Fondation pour les études et recherches sur le développement international (FERDI), the French Agricultural Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement (CRIOBE) and the French Research Institute for Development (IRD).
Opening remarks by Gaël Giraud, Chief Economist at AFD, CNRS, Paris, France. Confirmed keynote speakers include:
- Jean-Michel Severino, CEO of Investisseurs & Partenaires, former General Manager of AFD (2001–2010), former member of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Chair of Convergences (a think tank);
- Ravi Kanbur, Professor of Economics at Cornell University, former Chair of the World Development Report, former World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region;
- Amy Dahan, Emeritus Director of Research at CNRS and Emeritus Member of the Alexandre Koyré Center (CNRS-EHESS);
- Eduardo S. Brondizio, Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University, Co-Director of the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change (ACT), and member of the Advisory Board of the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University;
- Chimère Diaw, Director General of the African Model Forest Network and member of the International Model Forest Network.