France to plow €65 million into African high impact start-ups
Digital Africa, under the auspices of the French Development Agency, is driving socially impactful innovation among startups on the continent by offering fund to ensure ideas that contribute to community growth are fully backed.
The €65 million initiative was launched in 2018 by President Emmanuel Macron to aid sustainable development across communities on the continent. So far, the initiative has plowed €50 million into different ventures in Africa.
Rima Le Coguic, a Director at the French Development Agency, explained the motivation behind the fund.
She said, “Digital Africa’s vision is one of an Africa where the digital transformation enables inclusive development and where technical solutions improve the quality of life, support the real economy and gradually become global references.”
The Macro-backed initiative is producing a white paper to take ‘a shared development approach’ to achieving ‘break through innovations imagined in Africa’.
Meanwhile, according to Kizito Okechukwu, the co-chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network Africa, the Digital Africa initiative is long overdue since startups on the continent seem to be taking a back seat on the global stage.
He said something has to change to make African startups more competitive.
“Our ecosystem in Africa is still young and there is a few fragmented approaches across various local ecosystems. We will push to ensure federation of local ecosystems and ensure these are integrated and we bring resources together to support the ecosystem,” he explained.
He added, “This needs to change and we need to advance development by providing an enabling environment, building our human capital, access to markets and build a strong innovation ecosystem”.