Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Startups

Africa Will Not Miss the Digital Revolution, Vow Presidents

Article Image
Politicians and investors pledged to support the development of Africa's digital economy during a recent industry event in Paris focused on startups.

Africa featured prominently at the 4th iteration of Viva Technology (VivaTech) in the French capital. About 160 African startups attended the event, representing innovative developments in the digital domain -- from fintech to health, from AI to drones -- as well as many other areas of expertise.

Many dignitaries also attended the event. Macky Sall, the Senegalese president, gave a speech during which he claimed Senegal will focus on the digital sector as a key area of growth: He expects to see the country's digital economy contributing 10% of the country's GDP by the end of his term (which runs to 2024). "Africa missed the industrial revolution, but she is not going to miss the digital revolution," Sall stated, according to this report from La Tribune.

Senegal has set aside an annual fund of CFA 30 billion (US$51 million) to help entrepreneurs, with financial, technological and training support.

Paul Kagamé, Sall’s counterpart in Rwanda, said the country's digital sector raised $19 million in 2018. Soraya Hakuziyaremye, the country's Minister of Commerce and Industry, attributed that investment to the expansion of the country's fibre optic networks and simplified process to set up businesses. Rwanda is looking to raise a further $100 million to complete the construction of its Innovation-City, dubbed Rwanda's Silicon Valley.

There were also plenty of industry heavyweights present at the event to support the African startups. For example, Rwanda-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar showcased the first premium smartphones made entirely in Africa: The devices have been produced by Thakkar's Mara Corp. in partnership with Google and with support from l'Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Rwanda-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar was on hand to show his company's all-African smartphones.
Rwanda-based entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar was on hand to show his company's all-African smartphones.

Facebook was also at the event, promoting its AI investments in Africa. The company developed a program in Nigeria called NG'Hub focused on deep learning. Also in Nigeria, it launched a training program called Boost Your Business two years ago, and is set to announce the expansion of that scheme to six more countries -- Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, Benin, Senegal, and Guinea. The programme aims to train 10,000 digital marketing professionals that can work on its platform.

In total, 13,000 startups and 3,300 investors from 125 countries attended the three-day event.

— Wei Shi, Site Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Hot startup of the month: Pan-African fintech KamaPay

This month's hot startup is pan-African fintech KamaPay, which helps individuals and businesses make cross-border payments on the continent.

Story

Afretec awards $3.3M in grants to African research teams

The African Engineering and Technology Network (Afretec) has awarded grants worth $300,000 each to 11 university research teams across Africa to advance digital technologies.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Flash poll

All polls

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

Story

Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.

Story

Survey: Opportunities for Women in Tech

Take our new survey for women across Asia, Europe and Africa looking at the biggest challenges and opportunities for women-led enterprises and trends in tech careers for women.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

London Tech Week
June 13-16, 2023
Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3EE
Cybertech Africa 2023
August 1-2, 2023
Kigali Convention Center, Kigali, Rwanda
Africa Tech Festival, Home of AfricaCom and AfricaTech
November 13-16, 2023
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: February 2023

By Omdia Analysts

In February 2023 key events in the Middle East and Africa included a major Internet project for Africa's underserved by Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Microsoft as well as a 5G launch in Tanzania – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up