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African tech creativity in the spotlight at VivaTech


Lhe vitality of African start-ups will be particularly welcomed at the next VivaTech show scheduled for June 15-18. Considered the biggest tech event in Europe, VivaTech, implemented by the Publicis group and The echoes, is already in orbit. Its general manager, Julie Ranty, says she is ready: “We are preparing our big comeback for 2022, with 45,000 square meters at Porte de Versailles. The 2019 edition remains our reference year, since that of 2020 has been canceled and that of 2021, constrained by the number of authorized visitors. »

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An innovation: the AfricaTech Awards

For the first time, VivaTech and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, branch of the World Bank dedicated to the private sector) are organizing a competition, the AfricaTech Awards, dedicated to African start-ups. While the winners will be announced at the show in June, the list of 45 start-ups* selected was unveiled in early May.

“Africa is a scene that we identified very quickly as very dynamic and innovative, with start-ups that provide pragmatic and concrete responses to specific problems or needs, particularly in the field of health, finance or logistics”, observes Julie Ranty.

This initiative, supported by Proparco (a branch dedicated to the private sector of the French Development Agency), aims to highlight and support start-ups on the continent at the origin of innovation and impact on development in three main sectors: climate, finance and health.

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A 1D informative edition

For this first edition of the AfricaTech Awards, 45 start-ups – 15 in each of the three categories – were selected out of more than 300 applications. If, among the countries which participated the most, we find those which have a particularly dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem, such as Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya or South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Morocco also show a high turnout. Unsurprisingly, the finance category received the most applications (124), followed by health (95) and climate (93). Nearly 60% of candidate start-ups have at least one woman on their board of directors. Which is not bad when you know the under-representation of women in the world of entrepreneurship. An injustice that is also measured in fundraising: 10% of women are at the head of a start-up and they collect only 2% of the funds raised.

“The number and quality of applications received testify to the dynamism of the African technology scene, which has proven its resilience even in the face of the many challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic”, underlines Makhtar Diop, Director General of the IFC. These awards will help scale innovations in these key sectors.” “We selected 45 of the most promising start-ups, together with SFI and Deloitte, based on the quality and potential trajectory of their growth,” explains Julie Ranty.

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Segmentation around three poles: health, finance, climate

Each category is sponsored by a major company: health by Orange (Telecoms), Fintech by Cassava Technologies (fiber optics, data centers, cybersecurity, etc.) and climate by New Energy Nexus (incubator specializing in renewable energy). In each category, three start-ups will be selected to present their activity at the Salon in Paris. The winners will be announced during the AfricaTech Awards ceremony. “Through this challenge, the goal is to give visibility to African start-ups, to enable them to build relationships with mentors and to benefit from follow-up and support with privileged access to Viva’s networks. Technology, the IFC and sponsors”, specifies Julie Ranty.

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Africa: already a history with VivaTech

Eight African countries have confirmed their presence at the Show, including South Africa, Benin, Congo, Egypt, Mauritania, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Since its creation in 2017, the AfricaTech program has welcomed more than 1,000 African start-ups, eight countries presented their innovation ecosystems and three presidents took part in the event: Macky Sall (Senegal), Paul Kagame (Rwanda ) and Felix Tshisekedi (DRC).

In 2019, the winner of the Femal Founder Challenge award from VivaTech was Vivian Nwakah, the founder of Medsaf, a Nigerian start-up that connects national or multinational certified drug manufacturers and healthcare professionals (pharmacists, hospitals… ). Thanks to this prize, Vivian Nwakah won the opportunity to meet with the members of the Jury (Anisah Osman Britton, director of the London accelerator Backstage Capital, Claire Houry, partner at Ventech, Bernard Moon, co-founder of SparkLabs Group… ). And especially to raise funds.

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Objective: to highlight emerging opportunities

This year, VivaTech aims to focus on the African continent by highlighting emerging opportunities and key trends through a dedicated program of conferences featuring the most inspiring thought leaders and experts for the continent. . Among the speakers, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, president of Futur Africa, an investment fund focused on start-up start-ups, Nthabiseng Mosiala, co-founder of Easy Solar, a start-up specialized in solar energy based in Sierra Leone, the Cameroonian Rebecca Enonchong, influential tech entrepreneur, are already announced.

African start-ups will present their innovative solutions at the AfricaTech Lab and during the AfricaTech Awards ceremony. “We are a facilitator and a link between the European market and the African continent. Last year, 5 billion were raised by African start-ups, we are still far from the 11 billion raised in France. There is a real challenge for the development of these ecosystems”, analyzes Julie Ranty.

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Who are the start-ups selected for the Viva Tech AfricaTech Awards

For each of the three areas of finance, health and climate, fifteen start-ups have been pre-selected. Here they are.

* Start-ups in the FinTech category:

Abela – South Africa; Applied Logic Ltd – Nigeria; Click2Sure – South Africa; Crop2Cash-Nigeria; DreamCash – Cameroon; Duhqa-Kenya; eMaisha Pay – Uganda; Franc – South Africa; ImaliPay – Kenya: Lipa Later – Kenya; Neqabty – Egypt; Meals country – Kenya; Premiercredit – Zambia; Proxalys – Senegal; SingPay – Gabon.

* Start-ups in the Health Tech category:

Access Afya-Kenya; Aviro Health – South Africa; BokDoc – Egypt; Chefaa – Egypt; Keeplyna – Tunisia; Med – Tunisia; Meditect – Qatar; Primed E-Health – France, Nigeria and Uganda; SonoCare-Nigeria; Vekta Innovations – South Africa; Vula Mobile – South Africa; Wala Digital Health – Ghana; Welnes – Egypt; Zencey – Ivory Coast; Zuri Health – Kenya.

* Start-ups in the Climate Tech category:

Agrotech Plus – Kenya; Atlan Space – Morocco; Bekia – Egypt; Easy Matatu – Uganda; Eco-V; GreenTower – South Africa; Farmtopia – Egypt; Ipren Group – Nigeria; iShamba Limited – Kenya; Koolboks – France, Nigeria and 12 other countries; Kumulus – France and Tunisia; MyJouleBox (Aress) – Benin; Seavo – Egypt; SUNPave – Egypt; The Awareness Company – South Africa; Weee Center – Kenya.

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