Paris, June 11th, 2020 – On the occasion of their general assembly, Digital Africa and its members defined the strategic pillars of an ambitious action plan, with the objective to transform tech entrepreneurs into the main drivers of Africa’s economic recovery to overcome the crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Several projects to be launched by the end of June 2020 were agreed upon, including the Resilient Summer School, a capacity building program for entrepreneurs; Data 4 Digital Africa, an open data infrastructure to enable entrepreneurs and creators of tech solutions to test their models with open source data; and Africa Next Round, a program to facilitate co-investments in innovative African fast-growing companies.
The Digital Africa team has been partially renewed to oversee this roadmap, which will be driven by new Vice-president Kizito Okechukwu, also known as co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa and Executive Head of 22 ON SLOANE, Africa’s largest startup campus. “We will prioritise support for high impact startup projects, access to open data for technical development, and finance for commercial deployment. With these projects, Digital Africa will offer digital entrepreneurs perfectly adapted support to ensure their scale. This is the model we will use to make a long term difference and ensure that African startups become global founders and brands”, Kizito said, while paying tribute to the work of his predecessor, Karim Sy, Founder of Jokkolabs, to make digital entrepreneurship a priority of development policies.
In this coming period, the objective is to further anchor Digital Africa as a pan-African initiative, while refining its value proposition for all its beneficiaries. Under the leadership of Kizito Okechukwu, collaborative workshops will thus be launched in July 2020 with Digital Africa’s African members and partners in order to listen to their proposals and share good practices. Specific discussions will take place to define best approaches to operationalize the three main strategic priorities of Digital Africa namely assisting start-ups and creators of innovative companies, federating and strengthening of local ecosystems and supporting innovation policies on the continent. A white paper presenting Digital Africa’s 3-year programme is expected at the end of these debates.
“Digital Africa’s vision is one of an Africa where the digital transformation enables inclusive development and where technical solutions improve the quality of life, support the real economy and progressively become global references” said Rima Le Coguic, Director for Africa at the French Development Agency AFD (Agence Française de Développement). “The forthcoming white paper will be elaborated through a shared development approach, thus giving us the means to achieve our ambition, which is to identify ‘made in Africa’ breakthrough innovations and scale them up”.
The launch of the resilient.digital-africa.co website, also announced during the General Assembly, is part of this logic and aims to showcase how decisive African technological innovations are to ensure the continent’s current and future resilience. The site will be structured around two main sections: news and forward-looking perspectives to define the ‘African resilience model’, and a database of future solutions. In the coming weeks, resilient.digital-africa.co will receive contributions from well-known and committed players such as Juliana Rotich, Founder of Ushahidi, Bontle Senne, Director for Transformation at Virgin Media, Fatoumata Ba, Founder and Executive Chair of Janngo, or Aphrodice Mutangana, Founder of Kigali K-Lab in Rwanda, and many others who have readily accepted to join the conversation on Africa’s resilience.