Whether through its creation and support for start-up incubators, the technical expertise it provides to several African countries, or the French Tech network which encourages innovation from Cape Town to Dakar, France helps stimulate job creation and train young entrepreneurs in Africa through its network of embassies and agencies.
The second revolution we can spearhead together, the revolution that will give a boost to young people, is innovation and, with it, entrepreneurship. It is the only revolution that can create the 450 million jobs Africa will need by 2050. France will step up to the plate in concrete terms by devoting more than €1 billion to supporting African SMEs.
President Emmanuel Macron,
Ouagadougou Speech, 27 November 2017
In 2018, the Make Africa Festival brought together businesses and FabLabs – digital and IT innovation labs – from France and West Africa, creating networking opportunities. This initiative also involved stakeholders from Benin’s education sector, specifically organizations developing digital teaching solutions and their French partners.
Since October, the former Paierie de France site in central Ougadougou has been home to a new talent incubator supported by French public agencies active in the fields of innovation and youth. This site, called La Ruche, aims to be a unique venue where talented young artists, students, start-uppers and researchers from Burkina Faso can express themselves, particularly in innovation and digital technology.
The Digital Lab Africa is intended to be a platform for innovative content creators in Africa. It will help speed up project development thanks to support and expertise from French and African partners. Launched by the French Embassy and Institut Français in South Africa, this incubator has been based at the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct since 2018.
The incubator’s last call for projects, issued in November 2018, offered financing for projects in five fields: animation, music, video games, virtual reality and web design. Successful bidders will receive training by French and African partners, and get the chance to spend time at incubators in France and elsewhere in Africa.
The first telecardiology network in West Africa will be launched in Bouaké in January 2019 with support from the French Embassy and Expertise France, following collaboration between the French start-up Doc&You, the Cardiologs company, Ivoirian NGOs and the Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Health. It will connect around 20 remote health centres in Côte d’Ivoire.
Teranga Tech, which was launched on 21 June 2018 at the Institut Français in Dakar, is a community bringing together French and Senegalese tech structures. It is managed by the French Embassy.
This community has been instrumental in setting up a web platform featuring a calendar and map of the Senegalese tech industry, and creating the first start-up incubator in the cultural and creative industries field at the Institut Français. In addition, at the Orange Dakar Digital Show, the first Teranga Tech prize was awarded to a start-up.
Teranga Tech also organized the first African Museomix in November 2018 in Dakar. The goal of this challenge was to create new interactive tools for Dakar’s Armed Forces Museum.
In February 2018, the French Embassy and the Institut Français organized a hackathon, the HackEdu #Sénégal, on the theme “Éducations en partage” (shared education). The goal of the event was to come up with innovative education projects.