Call Us Now: (240) 429 2177

countries

Launching of the new edition of Digital Africa, an innovation competition to take up the challenge of digital transition in Africa
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Deadline for startups to submit their projects on DigitalAfrica.AFD.fr is the 22nd of October
PARIS, France, September 20, 2017/ — For the 40th birthday of Proparco, the subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) (www.AFD.fr) focused on private sector, AFD, Bpifrance (www.Bpifrance.fr) and the La French Tech (www.LaFrenchTech.com) have launched on 19 September the second edition of Digital Africa, a startup competition and digital innovation to support sustainable development in Africa. The first edition of the Digital Africa challenge, launched in October 2016, received more than 500 applications and rewarded 10 start-ups which convinced the judging panel on the potential impact of their innovation. Building on this success, AFD, Bpifrance and La French Tech have decided to renew the experience with the objective of offering a long-term support to the emergence of mature and solid digital ecosystems, catalysers of new economic opportunities.

Digital technology, a great accelerator of Africa’s development 

Digital revolution is transforming the African continent. It’s an innovative catalyst that revolutionizes economies and societies. Ecology, energy, culture, education, artistic creation, governance, and media: digital technology has a transversal and multiplying impact in all those key sectors.

“Digital innovation is abundant in Africa. Africans are making a technological leap that accelerates the emergence of the continent. Through Digital Africa, AFD supports emblematic start-ups of the digital African ecosystems, and fulfils its mission of development in the service of education and innovation, in the digital age. Development is now moving in both directions, between the two shores of the Mediterranean” – Rémy Rioux, AFD Executive Director.

Nicolas Dufourcq, Bpifrance Executive Director claims “We are proud to participate in the Digital Africa challenge and to support 5 French start-ups in their development on the African continent which nowadays offers great opportunities. This challenge represents a straight continuation of our action for the internalization of enterprises and their cooperation with the African continent”.

Innovation in Africa is showing extraordinary development, ecosystems are being structured, and start-ups are spreading across the continent. By promoting the links between French and African entrepreneurs today, our ecosystems are building a common future. Digital Africa is for French Tech an additional step to bring this ambition with Africa”, David Monteau, La French Tech Director, Ministry of Economy and Finance.

A fully customized program 

All the startup winners of this second edition of the Digital Africa challenge will benefit from a high visibility and access an international network of partners, clients and investors. They will be part of a community that gathers the best talents of digital innovation in Africa and for Africa, in order to share experiences and good practices.

The 5 African winning startups will be accompanied by the AFD through an “acceleration pack”, a customizable, technical and financial support up to a 30.000 euros value.

The 5 French winning startups will be accompanied by Bpifrance up to a 10.000 euros value support pack to strengthen their expertise and develop new opportunities on the African continent: Bpifrance Université training, networking and discovery trip to Abidjan and Cape Town with the French entrepreneurs community in the French Tech Hubs.

“For a young startup, Digital Africa offers a great opportunity to gain a continental and international visibility.” – Dieu-Donné Okalas Ossami, E-Tumba, winning startup of the first edition of Digital Africa.

What are the selection criteria? 

For the second edition of Digital Africa, startups are invited to propose innovative projects linked to the following themes:

  • Territory (urban challenge, rural transformation, and Smart City etc.)
  • Citizenship (e-government, civic engagement, activism, and alternative media etc.)
  • Knowledge and creativity (education, formation, creative and cultural industries etc.)
  • Environment and climate (green tech, clean tech, sustainable transportations, blue economy, and renewable energies etc.)

The relevance of the solutions proposed, their feasibility, sustainability and potential impact will be key criteria in the selection process divided in several steps:

  • An extensive analysis of the projects, of their innovative nature and of their business model;
  • A review of the pre-selected projects by AFD and Bpifrance experts;
  • A final selection by a jury composed by experts of the technological and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.

Jury:

  • Pauline Mujawamariya, Director of the Innovation Prize for Africa – African Innovation Foundation;
  • Tidjane Deme, General Partner of Partech Venture;
  • Emeka Okofore, TED Global, for Africa;
  • Aissatou Sow, Director of Development in Africa, Intel Corporation;
  • Erick Young, CEO Greentec Capital Partners.

Agence Française de Développement (www.AFD.fr), a public financial institution that implements the policy defined by the French Government, has been working for more than seventy-five years to combat poverty and promote sustainable development.
AFD operates on four continents via a network of 75 offices and finances and supports projects that improve living conditions for populations, boost a sustainable and inclusive economic growth, protect the planet and participate in the stabilization of fragile states and post-conflict situations.
In order to include the new digital concerns for development in its opportunities as well as in its challenges, AFD has set as a main objective to accompany the transformation of African economies and the promotion of human development through the stimulation of digital innovation.

Bpifrance (www.Bpifrance.com) finances businesses from the seed phase to transfer to stock exchange listing, through loans, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance accompanies firms in their innovation projects on an international scale and in their export activities through a wide range of products. The support offered to entrepreneurs also includes consultancy, university, networking opportunities and accelerating programme for startups, SME and middle-market companies.
Thanks to Bpifrance and its 48 regional branches, entrepreneurs benefit from a close, unique and efficient support to accompany them to overcome challenges.
La French Tech (www.LaFrenchTech.com) is the collective name for all those working in the French startup market. It is also an innovative public initiative in the service of this collective. For some years now, French Tech have as a group shown incredible dynamism, driven by a new generation of entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, designers, and other talented people. The French Tech mission is the team that coordinates within the Ministry of Economy and Finance the deployment of the actions of the French Tech initiative launched in November 2013 by the government and structured around 3 axes: federating the ecosystem of startups French, accelerate the growth of startups and spread French Tech internationally. The founding partners of the Initiative are: General Direction of Enterprises, General Direction of the Treasury, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Caisse des Dépôts, Bpifrance, Business France, Commissariat Général pour l’Investissement.

0
Read More
The Jim Ovia Foundation Pledges $2 Million to the Africa-America Institute to Support Higher Education
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
Jim Ovia

Jim Ovia

New York- 21 September, 2017- Mr. Jim Ovia, Founding Chairman of Zenith Bank, announced the establishment of a new scholarship program, The Jim Ovia Foundation Leaders Scholarship Fund, in partnership with the Africa-America Institute (AAI). The two million dollar pledge will finance four-year degree programs for high-achieving African students to attend world-class institutions around the globe. The announcement came during the 33rd Annual AAI Awards Gala.

“The Jim Ovia Foundation Leaders Fund is designed to be a definitive platform that will have an exponential impact in creating a better, brighter future for young Africans. With AAI’s 65-year tenure administering scholarship and deploying development capital for transformative results, we are honored to work together with the Mr. Ovia and his team,” Mr. Kofi Appenteng, CEO and President of the AAI stated.
“I have always been deeply committed to transforming Higher Education in Africa. We need to collectively empower young people and create a network of future leaders and game changers that can propel our continent forward. This fund, and this partnership with AAI are part of my continued dedication,” Mr. Ovia said following the announcement of the new scholarship.
The scholarship program follows a long-standing commitment from the Jim Ovia Foundation in investing in the youth and excellence in education. In partnership with the Africa America Institute, scholarships under the Fund will become available at the beginning of 2018. This marks a seminal moment for AAI with its rich tradition of building leaders in various sectors across the continent, and for Zenith Bank as it continues its global expansion.
Jim Ovia Leaders Scholarship Fund will expand access to education by providing scholarships to young and talented Africans who are under-resourced, from marginalized communities and those who would be the first in their family to attend university. The Fund is an important initiative that will leave a lasting impact on the next generation of Africans.
 Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Zenith Bank Plc has over 500 branches and business offices in prime commercial centers in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In March 2007, Zenith Bank was licensed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of the United Kingdom to establish Zenith Bank (UK) Ltd. as the UK subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc.
Founded in 1953, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a premier U.S.-based international organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, program implementation and management. Our primary model is that we identify capacity-building projects and coordinate the programmatic, financial administration and evaluation necessary to deliver high-impact results
0
Read More
African Women in Agriculture The Marrakech Declaration
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
The city of Marrakech hosted on 11 – 12 and 13 September 2017 an important international Congress on the subject “African Women in Agriculture” (AWA).
This unprecedented meeting is organized by the American Association Believe in Africa in collaboration with the PRESMA Agency.
Some 200 participants from 17 African countries and the USA took part in the meeting for three days. Mrs Angelle KWEMO President and Founder of this important initiative, at the opening stated that “in terms of agricultural production in Africa, women do not hold the key but they are the solution to the continent’s food challenge. It is through women that the continent will achieve not only its food self-sufficiency but above all its “food sovereignty”.
Mrs Mbarka Bouaida, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Agriculture in charge of Maritime Fisheries, highlighted the role of women in agriculture in Africa and explained the situation in Morocco.
Mr. Abdelfateh Bjioui, Wali of the Marrakech-Safi region, who gave the participants a warm welcome, congratulated the participants on the choice of Morocco and recalled the ambitious policy of His Majesty King Mohammed VI that God help him develop partnership between countries of the African continent.
Mr. Aziz Mekouar, former Ambassador of Morocco to the USA, explained the importance of the effective involvement of women in the light of the climate change of the planet.
The opening ceremony ended by the keynote address delivered by His Excellency Mr. John Dramani Mahama, former President of Ghana and a great friend of Morocco who recognized that “in Africa, no other sector of the economy has such a large participation of women than of agriculture. “
Work continued over two days and resulted in important resolutions. “All are committed to see the role of African women in agriculture recognized, with the establishment of the” African Prize for the Media in Agriculture and Sustainable Development “to encourage the media to improve the image of African women in agriculture, “says Fawzia TALOUT MEKNASSI, one of the partners of the event.
The words of the end of this agricultural congress was delivered to Mrs. Angelle KWEMO, who said that “it is time for Africa to produce the leadership that will enable the continent not only to achieve food security,  but also enhancing women actions, as pillar of this food security’.
The event was supported by OCP SA. Thus, during the plenary session titled “women central point of the green revolution”, Mrs. Imane Belghiti explained the concrete actions carried out by the OCP in Morocco as in the rest of the African continent.
The Social Development Agency represented by its dynamic Director GeneralM. Yassine HAMZA, shared with the other international agencies its expertise in supporting women’s agricultural cooperatives.
The event was also supported by international bodies such as UNO Women and the US Africa Development Foundation which not only supported rural women’s agricultural associations but also facilitated the participation of many women from the continent including leaders such as Korka Diaw, Korka Rice of Senegal and Mrs. Sirebara Foumata Diallo, President of the Union of Women Cooperatives in Agriculture of Mali. Appointment is therefore given in May 2018, for the second edition of “African Women in Agriculture”. Read the AWA Marrakech Full Declaration
0
Read More
The G5 Sahel Force: Burkina Faso in the fight against terrorism
September 21, 2017 | 0 Comments
His Excellency, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso

His Excellency, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso

In New York for the 72nd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President of Burkina Faso, His Excellency Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, participated in a high-level G5 Sahel meeting on Monday 18 September.

The objective of the meeting was to make the international community aware of the urgent need to support the joint anti-terrorist force which will begin operations in October, despite having received just a quarter of its budget. In addition to the funding issue, discussions focused on the relationship between the G5 Force and the UN forces.

The summit brought together the presidents of the five Sahel bloc countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad), French President Emmanuel Macron, African Union President Alpha Condé, President of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, the head of European Diplomacy Federica Mogherini and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. As a sign of growing US interest in the issue, a Homeland Security advisor was also present at the meeting. Burkina Faso, which has suffered several jihadist attacks, the first in January 2016 and the latest in July 2017, is tackling the problem head on. Among the measures taken by President Kaboré, who is calling for “a merciless fight against this global scourge”, and his Government are: the setting up of a full Department of Homeland Security and the appointment of a Minister of Defense, the redeployment of the security and defense forces (SDFs) in the north, equipping the SDF, strengthening international cooperation and joint operations with Mali (and with the French Barkhane force in particular).

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré will speak at the United Nations Forum on Thursday, 21 September. He will especially advocate for “a true people’s UN”. For the President of Burkina Faso, the changes of the world and the duty of justice for Africa demand a reform of the United Nations, notably within the Security Council. He will thus call on his counterparts to “build a more modern, stronger and more effective United Nations”. On the sidelines of the general debate, the President of Burkina Faso will take part in numerous panels and will meet with high-level personalities including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He will attend a High-Level Meeting on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, the Summit for a Global Pact for the Environment, and an African Union (AU) demonstration on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend.

Burkina Faso strengthens economic ties with the US
As part of “Burkina Day”, President Kaboré chaired a roundtable organized by the Atlantic Council and the US Chamber of Commerce on September 18 on Ways and Means of Contributing to the Strengthening of Economic Relations between the United States of America and Burkina Faso. This was an opportunity for the Head of State to present to American businessmen the investment opportunities, the promising sectors and the reforms undertaken by the government to create an attractive business climate and to propose “the organization of a forum for US investors in Burkina Faso in 2018” and a “meeting on democracy and good governance”.

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré thanked the US government for renewing its confidence through the Second Compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and explained to investors how the government of Burkina Faso has simplified and made transparent the procedures for the implementation of public-private partnership (PPP) projects. The following day, the President of Burkina Faso, the Prime Minister of Canada, the French President and the US Vice President attended a dinner hosted by the Atlantic Council.

National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES): Focus on investment opportunities.
While at the UN, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré will present his vision on development policy in Burkina Faso and highlight the progress made by his country. Burkina Faso has embarked on an ambitious structural transformation project aimed at improving the living conditions of Burkina Faso through strong, inclusive and sustainable growth. The goal of the National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES) by 2020 is to achieve an average growth rate of 7.7% and create 50,000 jobs per year. Developed through a participatory and inclusive process, the PNDES is based on three strategic pillars: “reforming institutions and modernizing the administration”, “developing human capital” and “Boosting sectors with strong economic and employment growth and job potential”.

At a meeting in Paris in December 2016, multilateral financial institutions, donor countries and private investors committed to mobilizing 28 billion Euros by 2020 to finance the PNDES.

Burkina Faso has thus undertaken major institutional and legislative reforms aimed at attracting, facilitating and securing investments to revive the economy. The desire to strengthen participatory democracy by placing citizens at the heart of the functioning of the State led the country to join the “Open Government Partnership” in 2016. The first National Action Plan is being drawn up with the participation of non-state stakeholders, civil society organizations and the media. Lastly, a preliminary draft constitution will soon be submitted to a referendum.

Located in the heart of West Africa, Burkina Faso is a “crossroads country”. Member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), of which Ouagadougou is the headquarters, Burkina Faso shares its borders with Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Just a one and a half hour flight from the neighboring capitals, it offers an ideal regional base for traveling in the region and is a strategic transit point for inter-country trade. As a country of dialogue, Burkina Faso is also well integrated in world diplomacy. The population of Burkina Faso is estimated at about 19 million people, 59% of whom are under 20 years of age.
After the popular uprising of 30 and 31 October 2014, Burkina Faso returned to democracy and organized the first free elections in its history. Elected on 29 November, 2015, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré became the first civilian to democratically gain power since the country’s Independence.
0
Read More
Ambitious Road map in the works after Marrakech African Women in Agriculture (AWA)” Conference
September 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

African Women in Agriculture

“AWA”

Marrakech September 13, 2017

Radisson Blu Hotel

The Marrakech Declaration

 

Angelle Kwemo of Believe in Africa with the Wali of Marrakech during the Conference

Angelle Kwemo of Believe in Africa with the Wali of Marrakech during the Conference

We, the women attending the ”Believe in Africa – African Women in Agriculture (AWA)” Conference held in Marrakech on 11-13th September 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

We express our deep gratitude to His Royal Majesty, King Mohammed VI for his strong leadership in advancing the African continent’s economic development and his special attention to women.

We hereby make this declaration:

We thank Madam Mbarka Bouaida, Secrétaire d’Etat au près du Ministre de l’Agriculture Chargé de la Pêche Maritime for her leadership and commitment to women empowerment;

We thank H.E. John Dramani Mahama, Former President of The Republic of Ghana for his encouragement and unwavering support to women empowerment and specifically in the agricultural sector;

We express to the Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development our willingness to strengthen our collaboration;

We thank M. Abdelfateh Bjioui, WALI of Marrakech region – Safi for his hospitality and support;

We thank the leadership of Office Chérifien des phosphates Group (OCP Group) For their support to women empowerment in the agricultural sector;

We thank the Moroccan Agency for Social Development for their support to women specifically for revenues generating activities

We thank UN Women and US Africa Development Foundation for their support women particularly in Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali;

After two days of deliberations resolved as follows:

 

  • To establish an “Believe in Africa” Chapter in Africa;
  • To create “African Women in Agriculture” initiatives (AWA).
  • To institutionalize the annual “Believe in Africa African Women in Agriculture congress;
  • Urge all stakeholders to:
    • Create The “African Award for Media in Agriculture and Sustainable Development” to encourage media to promote African women in Agriculture image;
    • Establish an “African Traditional Rulers Award” to encourage African traditional rulers to supporting women access to land;
    • Establish an ”International Day of African

Women in Agriculture” with the aim of:

  • Highlighting and increasing visibility of women’s role in agriculture and sustainable development
  • Rebranding the image of women in agriculture;
    • Launch the “One Roof = One Garden” initiative to promote food self sufficiency, to enhance youth and women job creation in urban areas and promote urban agriculture;
    • Find creative ways to raise and mobilize funding to support African women in agriculture’ access to credit, finance services and business development services.
    • Enhance competitiveness for African women in agriculture by guiding on ways to promote value added products, facilitating market access through proper labeling, safety, marketing and branding;
    • Provide guidance to women on ways to improve safety and quality assurance measures with a view to gaining access to global markets;
    • Advocate and search for an organization that will lead and support an African Certification and labeling structure, internationally recognized.
    • Invest in capacity building programs for women along the entire agricultural value chain;
    • Advise women on ways to have access to land ownership.
    • Increase the use of mechanization and appropriate biotechnology for women in agriculture;
    • Support women to access up to date information on agribusiness, technology and international best practices;
    • Extend all agricultural incentives to women in Art and Handicraft.

 

Signed by Angelle Kwemo, Founder and President Believe in Africa

Approved by women attending African Women in Agriculture conference representing different nationalities (Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Congo, Kenya, Chad, Guinea Bisau, Senegal, Mali, Cape Verde)

0
Read More
Official launch of NEPAD’s 5% Agenda initiative for infrastructure financing in Africa
September 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
Bridging Africa’s $68bn infrastructure finance gap
 Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD Chief Executive Officer

Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD Chief Executive Officer

NEW YORK, United States of America, September 18, 2017/ — The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) (www.NEPAD.org) – African Union’s economic development programme gathered international investors and CEO-level business leaders at the NASDAQ Stock Market today, 18th September, for the launch of its 5% Agenda campaign.

The launch took place five years after a January 2012 African Union Summit adopted the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) which sets out 51 cross-border infrastructure programmes and more than 400 actionable projects in four sectors.

According to the World Bank, the continent needs to spend $93 billion annually (44% for energy; 23% for water and sanitation; 20% for transport; 10% for ICTs; and 3% for irrigation) until 2020 to bridge its infrastructure gap, which is currently removing an estimated 2% of GDP growth every year. On the other hand, Africa only managed to close 158 project finance deals with debt totalling $59 billion over the decade 2004-2013, which represents only 5 percent of infrastructure investment needs and 12 percent of the actual financial flows.[1]

The 5% Agenda campaign highlights that only a collaborative public-private approach can efficiently tackle these issues and calls for allocations of institutional investors to African infrastructure to be increased to the declared 5% mark.

Speaking at the launch event in New York, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Infrastructure plays a leading role in supporting growth on the continent. At the same time, it can represent an innovative and attractive asset class for institutional investors with long-term liabilities. By launching the 5% campaign in New York today, we invite investors to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities Africa has to offer and to move forward with what can only be a win-win partnership”.

The launch of the campaign gathered high-level international investors and business leaders, including members of the PIDA Continental Business Network (CBN) which is spearheaded by NEPAD and constitutes a CEO-level private sector infrastructure leaders dialogue platform on PIDA.

Tony O. Elumelu, one of Africa’s most prominent entrepreneurs and active participant in the CBN said: “Africa is getting stronger every day with new business opportunities and innovative ideas but what is still crucially missing is project implementation. A coherent and coordinated approach is needed to mobilize institutional investors while limiting their risk exposure. African governments need to work on creating conducive environments to attract these investments which are so vital for the continent’s growth and development.”

According to a 2016 McKinsey report, institutional investors and banks have $120 trillion in assets that could partially support infrastructure projects.[2]

Now more than ever, Africa needs to tap into this available. As banks face additional regulatory challenges and as governments have limited fiscal space, it is becoming increasingly urgent to unlock additional flows from long-term institutional investors such as insurers, pension funds, and sovereign wealth funds.

For pension and sovereign wealth funds to be able to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects in Africa, a variety of issues need to be addressed to strategically and intentionally facilitate long-term allocations. Chief amongst these matters is the need to reform national and regional regulatory frameworks that guide institutional investment in Africa. Likewise, new capital market products need to be developed that can effectively de-risk credit and hence, allow these African asset owners to allocate finance to African infrastructure as an investable asset class to their portfolio.

All these issues are at the heart of the 5% Agenda roadmap, which is the backbone of NEPAD’s campaign and is foreseen to have the following impact:

  1. Unlocking notable and measurable pools of needed capital to implement regional and domestic infrastructure projects on the continent.
  2. Broadening and deepening the currently very shallow African capital markets, whilst at the same time contributing significantly to regional integration and job creation.
  3. Promoting the development of innovative capital market products that are specific to the continent’s challenges and potential in regards to infrastructure development.
  4. Raising the investment interest of other institutional and non-institutional financiers that so far have been hesitant to include African infrastructure projects as an asset to their investment portfolio based on specific, concrete next steps and project suggestions.
0
Read More
Africa50 Gains Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo as Shareholders; Highlights Strategy and Investment Pipeline
September 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
DAKAR, Senegal,12 September 2017, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, held its third Shareholder Meeting in Dakar on Tuesday, September 12. President Macky Sall of Senegal welcomed the delegates. African Development Bank Group President and Chairman of the Board of Africa50, Akinwumi Adesina, gave a feature address, and Africa50 CEO Alan Ebobisse provided updates on the Fund’s investment pipeline and strategy. They were joined by finance ministers, senior officials, and ambassadors from the 23 shareholder countries and members of the business community.

In his remarks, President Sall expressed his strong support for Africa50’s mission to catalyse private sector investment, from within and outside Africa, in infrastructure in Africa, since public resources are not sufficient. Outlining Senegal’s success, he stressed that governments must improve the business climate and create an environment conducive to private investment in infrastructure, including the regulatory environment for public private partnerships. Stating that “Africa is open for business”, he stressed that the continent has defined its priorities through initiatives such as PISA, and can use Africa50 as an important new instrument. He said, “I encourage all African countries to join this fund, which is ours, to fill our infrastructure funding gap.”

Africa50 Chairman Adesina, reiterated the need for private investment to close the large infrastructure funding gap in Africa, citing growing investor interest. Looking ahead to 2025 and a projected annual funding gap of $30-40 billion, financing African infrastructure will require a balance between development finance, which can fund and de-risk early stage financing, and long-term institutional investment which can quickly narrow the funding gap. Africa50, he said, was designed by the AfDB to help blend public and private finance, and through its project development division, build up the pipeline of “bankable” projects and facilitate public private partnerships. He commended the Africa50 leadership for ramping up operations, hiring top-notch staff and consultants, and naming a respected Investment Committee. The AfDB, he assured the audience, will continue to work closely with Africa50, especially to increase access to power. Chairman Adesina also officially welcomed two new Africa50 shareholders, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Note: Since the last Shareholders Meeting in July 2016 Tunisia has also joined.)

Thanking Chairman Adesina and President Sall for their presence and support, Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobisse, stressed the importance of the private sector to fill the infrastructure financing gap. He cited three success factors for Africa50’s mission: the strong support of the AfDB and the shareholders, the competence and experience of Africa50’s staff, and the quality of projects, which focus on being commercially viable while having a strong development impact.

In a video presentation that opened the event, Mr. Ebobisse and senior Africa50 staff further outlined Africa50’s comparative advantage for financing infrastructure in Africa. Specifically:
*    Through its close relationship with shareholders and African governments Africa50 can mitigate country risk through high-level public-sector engagement and by leveraging AfDB’s support.
*    Through its project development activities and ongoing dialogues with shareholder governments Africa50 can generate a strong deal flow to attract infrastructure investors.
*    By upholding international best-practice Environmental, Social, and Governance standards, Africa50 can help assure the long-term viability of projects.
*    And, finally, by building an experienced leadership and investment team with a demonstrated track record of successful deal-making on the continent, Africa50 will inspire confidence and catalyse more private investments in infrastructure.

 
Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to the continent’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital, and mobilizing private sector funding, with differentiated financial returns and impact.
0
Read More
IGD Fall Frontier 100 Forum to Convene African and Global Business Leaders, Investors to Drive Action on Increasing U.S. Investment in Africa
September 12, 2017 | 0 Comments
  • African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank (Afeximbank) will serve as Collaborating Partners for the IGD Fall Forum

  • Forum to host the Africa investor (Ai) Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable

  • Fireside Chat with a top U.S. government official and Congressional Roundtable on Capitol Hill to focus on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy 

IGD''s Mima Nedelcovych in audience with Burkina Faso's President  Roch M. C. KABORE

IGD”s Mima Nedelcovych in audience with Burkina Faso’s President Roch M. C. KABORE

WASHINGTON D.C. – September 12, 2017 – The Initiative for Global Development will hold its Fall Frontier 100 Forum on October 11-12, 2017, in Washington, DC, where African and global business leaders will convene to drive action on unlocking greater U.S. investment in Africa and African mid-sized companies for sustainable development and inclusive growth.

The invitation-only Fall Forum will be held on Capitol Hill and Covington law office in Washington, DC.

Under the theme “Growing the ‘Middle’: Investing in African Companies for the Continent’s Economic Transformation”, the Fall Frontier 100 Forum will bring together CEOs and senior executives from IGD’s Frontier Leader network to offer insight and scalable solutions on spurring investment opportunities to grow African companies and forge stronger business relationships between investors and African private sector leaders.

The tremendous growth of African mid-sized companies, maturation of African capital markets, bulging middle class, and steady economic growth are making the continent increasingly attractive for investment.

Yet, despite the growth opportunities, investment in the Sub-Saharan African region remains relatively low compared to other regions of the world. Private equity and principal investment capital under management in sub-Saharan Africa remain at only 0.1% of GDP, compared to approximately 1% of GDP in Western countries, cited a 2016 report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

“African companies are the drivers of growth on the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President & CEO. “Given Africa’s rapidly evolving landscape, our Forum aims to focus on solutions and creative investment strategies to increase U.S. investment in Africa and dynamic African mid-sized companies that deliver high-returns and contribute to the continent’s economic transformation.”

The Fall Forum will host the Africa Investor (Ai) Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable, which will feature a high-level dialogue led by key leaders from the Development Finance industry with counterparts from the institutional investment community. The discussion will center on new partnership strategies and vehicles available to de-risk and finance African infrastructure investment assets. African Ministers and DFI officials will offer responses to the roundtable discussion.

“African asset owners, principally pension and sovereign funds, allocate less than 1.5% of their assets under management (AUM) to infrastructure development on the continent, whilst Africa is struggling to mobilize private capital for its $50 billion plus, per annum infrastructure deficit,” commented Hubert Danso, CEO and Vice Chairman, Africa investor (Ai).  “This Ai dialogue session will build on Ai’s leadership role over the last five years, creating product and execution risk reward alignment, between institutional investors, DFI’s and Ministers of Finance, to pursue infrastructure co-investments and institutional investor public partnerships (IIPP’s),” he added.

On October 11, the Fall Forum will open with an interactive investor session led by a team from PYXERA Global that will take participants through a real-time simulation that moves from traditional investor/implementer relationships to mutually beneficial collaborations that align business goals with growth and opportunity in Africa.

A Fireside Chat with a top U.S. government official followed by a congressional roundtable on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy to improve Africa’s investment environment will be held on Capitol Hill. An evening reception, sponsored by the African Development Bank, will highlight a congressional delegation visit to West Africa.

A full-day of forum sessions on October 12, will feature keynote addresses and engaging panel sessions on “Attracting Private Equity Investments to Propel Inclusive Growth Opportunities for African Companies”“Strengthening the Value Chain: Financing Africa’s Agro-processing Industry”, and “Exploring Franchise Investment Opportunities: Win-Win for Building Africa’s Private Sector?”.

The Fall Forum will conclude with an evening reception to roll out a grassroots campaign on increasing U.S. investment in Africa. The grassroots campaign is part of IGD’s Africa Investment Rising campaign, a communications and advocacy effort aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa by showcasing the continent’s business and investment potential and private sector leaders through multimedia storytelling, blogs and strategic traditional and social media outreach.

Forum sponsors, to date, include the African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank as Collaborating Partners; Covington as Platinum Sponsor; Ex-Im Global Partners as Gold Sponsor; Clin d’Oeil Magazine as Silver Sponsor; and Africa investor as Organizational Partner.  

For more information on the Frontier 100 Forum and to register as “Media”, please click here. To become a media partner or to cover the forum, contact Shanta Bryant Gyan, Initiative for Global Development at email, sbryant@igdleaders.org  or call 202-412-4603

0
Read More
New diagnostic test for human African Sleeping Sickness
September 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

A new diagnostic test developed from research at the Universities of Dundee and Cambridge has been launched with the aim of helping eliminate the disease known as African sleeping sickness.

Sleeping sickness, or Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), is caused by parasites transmitted by tsetse flies in sub-Saharan Africa and has a devastating impact, causing thousands of deaths each year.

Today, September 12th, the international non-profit organisation FIND and the diagnostics company Alere launched their second-generation rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for sleeping sickness. This second-generation test is easier and safer to produce, using recombinant protein technology to produce the two diagnostic antigens, one of which is completely new.

The new test, SD BIOLINE HAT 2.0, costs US $0.50 each and requires no specialist equipment to diagnose sleeping sickness from a pin-prick of blood, providing the same level of accuracy but in a more robust production format.

The test has been developed from research performed in the laboratories of Professor Mike Ferguson at Dundee and Professor Mark Carrington at Cambridge, with device prototyping done at BBI Solutions in the Dundee Technology Park.

“This is a terrible disease that causes character disintegration, psychological deterioration followed by coma and death, and current treatments are far from ideal,” said Professor Carrington.

“The World Health Organisation’s goal is to eliminate HAT and rapid and accurate diagnosis is essential to achieving this objective. It is extremely encouraging for us as researchers to see our work now being deployed in the field where it can make a real difference to people.”

The work at Dundee and Cambridge was supported through separate funding streams from the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Both the Dundee and Cambridge labs were supported by the Wellcome Trust at the time the research was done, and much of the work was performed by Dr Lauren Sullivan, MRC PhD student and then MRC Centenary fellow between 2008 and 2013, and Dr Mandy Crow, MRC PhD student between 2000 and 2004.

Professor Ferguson said, “Sometimes impactful work comes from side-projects where one synthesises funding streams, in this case from the MRC and the Wellcome Trust, and works across institutions and with industrial partners to do something more speculative or applied. The science underpinning this new diagnostic device is a good case in point.”

0
Read More
Announcing 2017-2019 Next Einstein Forum Fellows, Africa’s top scientists solving global challenges
September 12, 2017 | 0 Comments
KIGALI, Rwanda, 12 September 2017 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) today announces its second Fellows Class, 16 scientists, all under 42 years of age, who are solving Africa’s and the world’s challenges. An initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the NEF will hold its second global forum for science in Kigali, Rwanda, under the patronage of H.E. President Paul Kagame.

Central to the NEF’s vision of propelling Africa onto the global scientific stage, the NEF Fellows will present their groundbreaking research at the NEF Global Gathering 2018, to be held on 26-28 March 2018, and help craft an exciting, high impact forum.

“Two years ago it was my great honor to announce the inaugural Fellows Class. Today again, I am excited to announce a brilliant NEF Fellows Class. The selected Fellows, six of whom are women, are doing cutting edge research in renewable energy, nanomaterials and nanotechnology, food security, regenerative medicine, cognitive systems related to fintech, cosmology, seismology etc. Beyond just theoretical research, our Fellows have developed impressive technologies from their research. We strongly believe their discoveries and initiatives, current and future, will solve global challenges in health, energy, climate change, education, agriculture to name a few,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Chairman of the NEF.

NEF Fellows are selected by a prestigious Scientific Programme Committee using a rigorous process that looks at academic and scientific qualifications including a strong publication record, patents, awards, and independently raised funds for research. Fellows also have to demonstrate the relevance and impact of their research/innovations to society as well as a passion for raising Africa’s scientific profile and inspiring the next generation of scientific leaders.

“I would like to thank the first Fellows Class who have used their tenure to publish high impact research, multiply collaborations among young researchers globally and mentor the next generation. Their active participation in crafting the program has improved the Fellows Programme. Together with this new Fellows’ class, they join the newly launched NEF Community of Scientists, an exclusive network that offers members opportunities for consulting, grants, research collaborations, speaking opportunities and career mentorship. In return, members will participate in national and continental policy formulation, cross-cutting research and innovation activities, lead public engagement around science and technology in Africa, and provide mentorship to early-career scientists and students,” said Mr. Zomahoun.

Meet the 2017-2019 NEF Fellows:

Dr. Vinet Coetzee (South Africa) is working on affordable and non-invasive methods to screen children for nutrient deficiencies and inborn conditions, by training computer models to recognise the links between physical features and these conditions. For instance, Vinet’s team developed an affordable 3D camera at one tenth of the price of comparable commercial systems.

Dr. Abdigani Diriye (Somalia) is developing, together with his team at IBM Research Africa, new approaches to mine, model and score people, identifying the right amount of credit and appropriate products. Last year, they developed a machine learning approach that leverages new data sources (mobile phone behavior) to evaluate the financial profile and credit score of millions of people in East Africa.

Dr. Kevin Dzobo (Zimbabwe) is leading an inter-university collaboration between ICGEB/University of Cape and the University of Pretoria on developing a ‘stem cell-ECM’ bandage or patch which when fully developed can be used on injured tissue.

Dr. Jonathan Esole (DRC) introduced, while at Harvard University, a new topological invariant known as the orientifold Euler characteristic, which is now used daily by physicists working in F-theory. Jonathan also solved problems in supergravity open for more than twenty years.

Dr. Yabebal Fantaye (Ethiopia) investigates the statistical properties of the Universe using the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) data from the Planck satellite. More practically, his research focuses on developing machine learning and other advanced statistical methods for harnessing the African GIS and social Big Data for extracting actionable insights to help Africa meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr. Aminta Garba (Niger) is interested in finding key policies, technologies and applications relevant to the development of ICT, particularly in rural and underserved areas. As well, she is interested in methods that allow increasing the data rate of communication systems by shaping and reducing the interference.

Dr. Mamadou Kaba (Guinea) research projects led to better understanding of the risks of transmission of hepatitis E virus (HEV) from animals to humans. He is currently conducting a prospective longitudinal study on how the composition of the respiratory tract and gastrointestinal microbial communities (microbiota) influences the development of respiratory diseases in African children.

Dr. Rym Kefi (Tunisia) is mainly involved in research on human genetic disorders, genetic diversity in North Africa and the impact of consanguinity on health. As well, she is strengthening research on ancient DNA and providing genetic profiling for paternity tests and human forensic identification at Institut Pasteur de Tunis.

Dr. Aku Kwamie’s (Ghana) research is in the area of health system governance, looking at how and where within health systems decisions get made, applying complexity theory to issues of management and leadership, accountability and organizational innovation.

Dr. Justus Masa (Uganda) leads several research projects in the field of electrocatalysis and energy conversion, focused on the development of advanced low-cost catalysts and electrode materials for electrochemical energy systems, including fuel cells, electrolyzers (power to gas energy conversion), rechargeable metal-air batteries and other modern battery systems.

Dr. Sanushka Naidoo (South Africa) is dedicated to plant defense in the forest species, with an emphasis on Eucalyptus. Her research is focusing on mechanisms that can confer broad-spectrum, long lasting resistance by dissecting gene families and responses to pests and pathogens.

Dr. Maha Nasr (Egypt) focuses on advanced technologies such as nanotechnology based drug carriers and composite delivery systems. She is currently investigating the possibility of creation of novel carriers for treatment of diseases, mainly cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Sidy Ndao’s (Senegal) research group has recently developed the world’s first high temperature thermal rectifier, a building block for future High Temperature Thermal Memory and Logic Devices, i.e., thermal computer. He is also the founder of the Pan-African Robotics Competition.

Dr. Peter Ngene (Nigeria) developed a strategy which is now widely used to make complex hydride nanocomposite materials for reversible hydrogen storage applications and solid-state electrolytes for rechargeable batteries. He has also developed inexpensive eye-readable hydrogen sensors for the diagnosis of lactose intolerance via hydrogen breath test.

Dr. Tolulope Olugboji (Nigeria) builds sophisticated computer models and designs novel remote sub-surface imaging techniques to improve the understanding of the architecture and composition of the solid Earth interior.

Dr. Hamidou Tembine’s (Mali) research investigates game theory and aims to contribute significantly to existing knowledge on the interactive decision-making problems with incomplete information, and in the presence of self-regarding, other-regarding, altruistic, spiteful, risk-sensitive, and irrational agents.

Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of NEF efforts are Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance. The NEF is a unique youth-driven forum. At our headline biennial scientific events, 50% of participants are 42 or younger. Far from being an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. The next NEF Global Gathering will be held on 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, through our Communities of Scientists, we showcase the contributions of Africa’s brilliant youth to Africa’s scientific emergence through its class of NEF Fellows, who are Africa’s top scientists and technologists under the age of 42, and NEF Ambassadors, who are the NEF’s 54 science and technology ambassadors on the ground.The NEF is also working together with partners such as the African Academy of Sciences, Ministers’ of Education, Science and Research across Africa, foundations and other global scientific and private sector companies, to build an African scientific identity. By bringing together key stakeholders, the NEF hopes to drive the discussion from policy to implementation by leveraging buy in and best practice results from Africa and the world. Have a look at our benchmark Dakar Declaration.

Dr. Kevin Dzobo (Zimbabwe)

Dr. Kevin Dzobo (Zimbabwe)

Finally, the NEF is telling untold stories of scientific research and innovation across the continent through our various platforms. We want to recalibrate what ‘innovation’ means in Africa. We want to make the link between science and technology, even basic sciences, to everyday life. We want the public involved in science and we have recently concluded the first coordinated Africa Science Week – an annual three to five day celebration of science and technology through coordinated science events across the continent. We believe the next Einstein will be African.

The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.

0
Read More
Revealed: The Spies Helping Push South Sudan to Genocide
September 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Documents obtained by The Daily Beast from several sources show the way other African leaders and intelligence services collude with President Salva Kiir’s brutal regime.

But today a new lesson is being learned. Court documents and U.N. reports, some obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast, show that African states will not only stand by during mass bloodshed, but will assist a brutal government—South Sudan—as it pushes the country closer to genocide.

A court affidavit in Nairobi alleges a close partnership between Kenyan and South Sudanese spies. A confidential report that describes U.N. peacekeeping operations suggests military cooperation between Uganda’s and South Sudan’s government. And an internal U.N. letter shows that Egypt has provided diplomatic cover to South Sudan at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

This support has contributed to the collapse of South Sudan, the youngest country in the world that gained independence in 2011 with the strong support of the United States.

African states pushed for a greater role in solving regional crises after the Rwandan genocide in 1994, where the U.S. and U.N. received blame for standing by during mass atrocities. There is no doubt President Salva Kiir and the constellation of rebel groups who have taken up arms against him are overwhelmingly responsible for their country’s fate. But the documents show how in one of East Africa’s first opportunities to take the lead in ending one of the world’s worst wars is failing, miserably.

Leaders are afraid of supporting an arms embargo, sanctions, and attempts to bring leaders to justice in South Sudan, because it could set a precedent in the broader East African region, Luka Kuol, a professor at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies said in an interview. The thinking of these African leaders is simple: these tools may be used against them next.

Princeton Lyman, the former U.S. envoy to South Sudan, also told The Daily Beast that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and others in the region have significant financial interests in South Sudan that are at risk if Kiir’s government falls.

The U.N. says South Sudan is at risk of genocide and ethnic cleansing already is underway. Earlier this year a million people were on the brink of a famine created by the conflict. Since the summer of 2016 nearly a million South Sudanese have fled marauding government forces into Uganda, where they have created the world’s largest new refugee camp.Uganda also appears to be one of the biggest military suppliers to South Sudan’s government, according to a collection of public reports by U.N. experts (PDF).

Military cooperation between Uganda and South Sudan is close. When the exodus of refugees was at a peak last winter, Uganda’s military crossed the border into South Sudan to assist civilians fleeing the brewing ethnic conflict, according to a confidential report from the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, a body that monitors the country’s peace deal.

The Ugandan military “temporarily helped civilians return to their villages to collect belongings, and encountered the SPLA [the government’s militia] gang raping women, especially near the Asua military barracks,” the report said.

No intervention on behalf of Uganda’s government was described in the March report.

Agreements to operate on each other’s territory appear to work in both directions. In late May, around 50 South Sudanese government soldiers toting automatic weapons were sighted some 20 kilometers across the border in northern Uganda. The rag-tag soldiers were traveling in the direction north to Kajo-Keji, a once bustling South Sudanese town that has seen some of the worst ethnic fighting and is nearly fully deserted. In the case of Kenya, there is evidence that its intelligence officials work closely with their South Sudanese counterparts. In late January 2017, a pair of South Sudanese living in Kenya—human rights lawyer Dong Samuel Luak and opposition official Aggrey Idri—disappeared in the capital of Nairobi.

Telephone transcripts filed as an affidavit in Kenyan court obtained by The Daily Beast show a South Sudanese intelligence officer, John Top Lam, appeared to have inside knowledge of the disappearance. He sought a $10,000 bribe from a confidant of the two men and implied it was for Major-General Philip Wachira Kameru, the head of Kenya’s intelligence service.

Kameru told Lam, the South Sudanese intelligence officer, that the two kidnapped men “will not be taken to Juba, we will first get information from them,” according to the telephone transcript. “You know these people, it is always the language of money.”

It is unclear if the money was ever sent but Dong and Aggrey were never found. As a result, a flood of South Sudanese opposition figures who used to lounge and drink warm Guinness in Nairobi’s rooftop hotels have fled the country.

After hundreds died in fighting that spread across the capital of Juba last summer, evidence of Egypt’s military support to the South Sudanese surfaced in U.N. reports. They indicate Egyptian nationals have supplied South Sudan’s government with caches of small arms and ammunition, as well as armored vehicles.

Egypt’s government called these reports “inaccurate” and “erroneous” in a June letter of protest from the country’s United Nations delegation that has been obtained by The Daily Beast. Importantly, the letter does not dispute charges that Egypt has fueled South Sudan’s civil war.

Cairo later tried to block future investigations into the conflict, U.N. officials say. That effort was unsuccessful, but along with its vocal opposition to an arms embargo at the Security Council, Egypt’s diplomatic maneuvers have chilled resolutions at the U.N.

Sudan was a frequent supplier of weapons to rebel groups in South Sudan, but there has been little public evidence that operation continues. Pressure from the U.S. government has helped.

The African Union has been charged with holding South Sudan’s leaders accountable for crimes against humanity committed during the civil war, but progress has been slow. A court of both African and South Sudanese judges to try the country’s leaders for crimes committed during the civil war has been agreed to, and observers say that its creation is a test.

A former senior official from the Obama administration said that this is an important moment for the African Union to show that it has both the will and the capacity to hold regional leaders accountable when they engage in some of the worst crimes known to humanity.

There is cause for hope. After two years of delay, the African Union and South Sudanese government recently made some progress on details of what that court will look like. But like previous agreements South Sudan’s government has made, it is likely to stall or back out entirely.

For all the criticism of the African states’ role in fueling South Sudan’s war, relying on them for peace would not be necessary if the United States, United Kingdom, or other Western nations stepped up. Western nations like the United States and United Kingdom are hesitant to commit peacekeepers to South Sudan to protect civilians.

For more than two years the United States essentially blocked an arms embargo on South Sudan. Heads of state and high-ranking officials from these governments have never participated in a sustained diplomatic effort for peace in South Sudan.

If these countries don’t like the way East Africa is fueling South Sudan’s civil* war, it’s time for them to begin acting, not just talking.

*Source Daily Beast

 

0
Read More
With new Managing Director, Ghana’s MEST scales as Pan-African incubator
September 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Jake Bright*

The MEST incubator has appointed Aaron Fu as its new Managing Director. This comes as the Accra based innovation hub scales up its presence across Africa.

Founded in 2008, MEST operates as a training program and seed fund for African innovators to build successful commercial tech companies.

Fu takes the helm after two years as Managing Partner at early stage VC firm Nest. He also co-founded Metta Kenya, a Nest backed space in Nairobi for tech entrepreneurs and investors. Interim MEST MD Katie Sarro will shift to Head of Partnerships and Fundraising.

Fu plans to focus on the incubator’s continued expansion. “A very big part of that is figuring out what elements we’ve rolled out in Accra that will scale to the rest of the market,” he told TechCrunch. “As the organization transitions to becoming a multi-country entity, there’s going to be some organizational changes…to make sure MEST’s impact also scales.”

The incubator currently has offices or on ground presence in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. It actively recruits in those countries and Cote d’Ivoire. MEST is in the process of opening physical incubator spaces in multiple countries.

“We want to connect our…startups to markets, resources customers, and teams from all across Africa to make their dream of building truly pan African companies a reality,” said Fu.

MEST’s expansion comes as Africa has seen its innovation spaces grow from a handful, less than a decade ago, to over 300, by a recent GSMA tally. Many of those hubs have been shifting away from singular market focus and an over reliance on grant funding toward broader reach and more revenue from investment related activities. This year Kenya’s iHub launched its own startup fund. Nigeria’s CCHub recently launched its Diaspora Challenge to tap talent and investment outside the country.

Funded primarily by Jorn Lyseggen’s Meltwater Foundation, MEST is also transitioning toward more investment activities. Its seed fund has supported several companies that went on to raise outside capital and two―Claimsyncand messaging app Saya―have been acquired. MEST’s new MD confirmed the incubator plans to launch a VC firm in the near future, though could not provide an exact timeline.

Fu sees a broader benefit to Africa’s tech sector from MEST’s expansion. “We’d like to connect all these smaller, vibrant ecosystems across the continent to present one unified ecosystem,” he said.

And on MEST’s commitment to commercial startups. “We definitely believe in building businesses not apps,” Fu said. “By doing that you create the hero figures to inspire the next generation. That inspires capital to be unlocked across the world to invest in African tech.”

 *Tech Crunch/Yahoo

0
Read More
1 112 113 114 115 116 128