France To Give €130 Million to 500 Tech Start-ups in Africa.

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President Emmanuel Macron announced today at the New Africa-France summit that a renewed financial commitment of €130m for the next three years and express Digital Africa’s new ambitions to support entrepreneurship and technological innovation on the continent.

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Present in Montpellier, the Digital Africa team unveiled new programmes, according to a Press release signed by Ndeye Mane Sall for Digital Africa on Friday.

In terms of financing, the team announced the Fuzé project, that focuses on Francophone Africa and aims to support at least 200 tech start-ups as of early 2022 by launching a new small ticket fund (in stages, from €10,000 to €200,000) taking the form of repayable loans.

In terms of skills, Digital Africa joins forces with Make IT and the German government to set up Talent4StartUps, a fellowship programme designed to meet the needs of talents that have been trained in tech and digital, and whose beneficiaries will be put in touch with start-ups actively recruiting.

More broadly, Digital Africa will continue to develop non-financial activities (knowledge production, training, networking, research, and support for the evolution of regulatory frameworks) while having the opportunity to raise funds from other public or private donors.

This will be enabled by its new status as a subsidiary of Proparco, which is the Agence Française de Développement (AFD)’s structure dedicated to the private sector.

This ambitious change will give Digital Africa the opportunity to deploy direct seed financing capabilities for high potential start-ups across the continent. Digital Africa’s CEO Stéphan-Eloise Gras said, 

“Startups need a ‘one-stop-shop’ combining training, research, project-structuring, support to pro-tech and pro-innovation reforms, and financing.

“From now on, thanks to the merger with Proparco, they will find in Digital Africa a partner capable of offering them support from ideation and seed to growth and hyper growth.

Senior Partner at AfricInvest, Khaled Ben Jilani, said, “At AfricInvest, we are interested in projects that have already reached a certain level of maturity in order to support their growth. Of course, they cannot come to us if they have not passed the first stages.”

Continuing, Jilani recalled that, “In 2019, more than 90 percent of African start-ups reported difficulties in financing their seed stage. By focusing on this segment and building new direct funding capabilities, Digital Africa will provide an effective response to a real need – and will impact the lives of African entrepreneurs at the start of their businesses.”

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