Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Bpifrance are joining forces to launch a digital innovation competition open to African and French startups working for development in Africa.
Por the first time, AFD, which has been financing development projects in Africa for nearly 75 years, and Bpifrance are joining forces to launch the "Startup Challenge Digital Africa", an innovation competition to promote the development of digital start-ups in Africa. African and French startups have until 15 November 2016 to submit their applications in the fintech, health, environment-energy and agriculture sectors. Applications are open until 15 November 2016 on the ► platform. http://digitalafrica.afd.fr
Why this challenge?
Africa is increasingly connected, thanks in part to the rapid adoption of mobile phones, and has become a land of digital innovation. The development of mobile payment and the growing adoption of smartphones and broadband are factors that enable digital entrepreneurs to offer new products and services across all economic sectors. The dynamism of digital ecosystems is reflected in the multiplication of technology hubs, coworking, labs and incubators, of which there are now more than 300 on the continent.
Faced with this observation, AFD and Bpifrance wished to pool their experience in financing digital innovation and development. The "Startup Challenge Digital Africa" should encourage and support new players in the digital economy, accelerate the dissemination of know-how and facilitate the emergence of new solutions for development.
Four sectors have been selected for their dynamism and potential impact on the continent's development: fintech, health, environment/energy and agriculture.
What's in the key?
A jury will designate two winning startups, one African and one French, in each of the four sectors (i.e. 8 startups). Two additional startups, one African and one French, will be selected via an online vote. A total of 10 startups will therefore be rewarded.
They will be invited to present their initiative and meet partners at the 27th Africa-France Summit to be held in Bamako on 13 and 14 January 2017.
How to apply?
African and French entrepreneurs must submit online ( http://digitalafrica.afd.fr ) by 15 November 2016 the key elements of their entrepreneurial project and indicate whether they wish to compete in the fintech, health, environment/energy or agriculture categories.
A qualified jury and two choice sponsors
The jury will be made up of qualified African and French personalities and representatives of AFD and Bpifrance. The Startup Challenge Digital Africa is sponsored by two influential entrepreneurs from the world of technology and innovation : Karim Sy Founder of the Jokkolabs network (1st African collaborative workspace) and by Gilles Babinet, French entrepreneur, Founder of Africa4Tech, First President of the Conseil National du Numérique, Representative of France to the European Commission on digital issues ("Digital Champion").
AFD and Bpifrance
Rémy Rioux, Chief Executive Officer of AFD says "Digital technology can be a tremendous accelerator of sustainable development in Africa, provided that everyone can benefit from the springboard of innovation. Agence Française de Développement wants to support this transition, which will lead to new growth trajectories, support entrepreneurs from the South whose projects are promising for their continent and encourage interaction between entrepreneurs from the North and South. It is for this reason that AFD and Bpifrance wished to join forces to launch this competition together".
Nicolas Dufourcq, Chief Executive Officer of Bpifrance, says "The technological leaps that are currently taking place in Africa and the emergence of a young middle class are creating exceptional development opportunities for African and French companies. We are proud to participate in this competition which is in line with our actions for the internationalization of companies and cooperation with the African continent. ».