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.
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The French Development Agency and AKDN partners to provide equitable access to an international standard of education in Mozambique
His Highness the Aga Khan, Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and Rémy Rioux, Director-General of the French Development Agency (AFD), today presided over the signing of a loan agreement for US$25 million to finance the construction of the Aga Khan Academy Maputo.
The agreement will expand provision of high quality education to develop future leaders and train teachers, supporting economic and social development in Mozambique. It will provide opportunities for talented girls and boys to access primary and secondary education, regardless of their socio-economic background. A unique talent identification system, as well as student scholarships, allows the Aga Khan Academy to offer a large number of students from lower income families the opportunity to access quality education.