Digital Africa, a programme to support digital innovators from Africa, launched

As part of the 2018 edition of VivaTech, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of Digital Africa, a programme for start-ups which aims to maintain the entrepreneurial momentum in Africa, support the emergence of entrepreneurs with social impact and encourage digital innovation through a label of the same name.

EMERGING Valley, which will take place from November 19 to 21, 2018 at Palais du Pharo in Marseille and at the camp in Aix-en-Provence, is the first event to be branded ‘Digital Africa.’

(TOP: French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters).

EMERGING Valley will be held as a summit on African entrepreneurship and innovation, founded in 2017 by Samir Abdelkrim and co-produced by StartupBRICS and MCO Congrès.

The goal of this event is to radiate the Aix-Marseille region in Africa and in emerging countries as a new business and start-ups hub between Europe and Africa and to attract new businesses with high-growth potential. To support this trend, the French Development Agency (Agence française de développement, AFD), has come on board as the lead sponsor in the context of VivaTech, turning Aix-Marseille into the first region to host an event labelled “Digital Africa”.

The introduction of the EMERGING Valley event to the VivaTech participants took place on May 24, 2018 at the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropole in presence of various public officials and of innovation players from the region like thecamp and Innov’In Med.

“The region and especially Aix-Marseille have all kinds of legitimacy – historical, geographical, cultural, human – to become the preferred African gateway to Europe, and vice versa. It’s also the only French region claiming this position with Africa on the digital challenges, and it wants to assert itself as a magnet for the companies in the world willing to enter the African market from Marseille. Now, there is a real opportunity to emerge as a double gateway Europe-Africa, and Marseille can naturally claim it. EMERGING Valley is part of the ambition,” stated Samir Abdelkrim, founder of EMERGING Valley and StartupBRICS.

About 50 international speakers drawn from about 20 countries will gather at Palais du Paro on November 19 and 20 and at the camp on November 21, 2018. The French Minister of the Digital Sector, Mounir Mahjoubi, has already confirmed his presence at EMERGING Valley.

More than 60 start-ups and African project holders will come as well to EMERGING Valley to be speeded up during the workshop Social Business & Inclusive Camp, the result of a partnership between EMERGING Valley and the French Development Agency in the context of the “Digital Africa” labelling.

The 2017 EMERGING Valley edition which was held on December 5 in Marseille and on December 6 at the Camp, attracted 20 African start-ups promoting technology applications with a real replicability potential in Europe and in the Mediterranean, with Intouch, Jumia, Karangue, Klab, MedTrucks, CDIC, Wutiko and participating.

During this first edition, incubators and innovators from the Aix-Marseille region presented their support services to African companies willing to develop their activities on the European continent, like thecamp, Marseille Innovation, PFactory, la Coque or even Le Carburateur.

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