As part of a restructured Digital Africa program, French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged a fresh EUR130 million (US$150 million) investment to help 500 African startups.
Digital Africa, which was founded in 2018 with the goal of equipping African tech entrepreneurs with the skills they need to design and scale-up game-changing innovations for the real economy, brings together startups, academia, incubators, institutional financiers, venture capitalists, and technology clusters to help develop the African startup space.
President Macron’s renewed financial commitment of EUR130 million pledged at the New Africa-France Summit will cover the next three years, while Digital Africa has been reorganized and is now part of Proparco, the Agence Française de Développement’s private sector subsidiary (AFD).
Stéphan-Eloise Gras, Digital Africa’s chief executive officer said:
“Digital Africa’s new organization, redefined with our partners, allows us to reinforce our commitment to “made in Africa” tech innovations and become a factory for future African unicorns.
“Startups need a one-stop-shop combining training, research, project-structuring, support to pro-tech and pro-innovation reforms, and financing. From now on, thanks to the merger with Proparco, they will find in Digital Africa a partner capable of offering them support from ideation and seed to growth and hypergrowth.
“By putting tech at the service of transparency and efficiency in development aid, and by getting closer to the private sector, Digital Africa wants to make a long-lasting difference.”
Digital Africa also revealed a slew of new initiatives at the event. It also launched the Fuzé initiative, which focuses on Francophone Africa and seeks to help at least 200 innovative entrepreneurs through a new small ticket fund by early 2022. This will offer funding in the form of repayable loans ranging from EUR10,000 (US$12,000) to EUR200,000 (US$230,000) in phases.
In terms of skills, Digital Africa has teamed together with Make IT and the German government to launch Talent4StartUps, a fellowship program aimed to match the requirements of tech and digitally skilled professionals with companies that are actively hiring.
More generally, while having the possibility to obtain money from other public or private donors, Digital Africa will continue to expand non-financial activities like knowledge generation, training, networking, research, and assistance for the growth of regulatory frameworks. This will be made possible by its new position as a Proparco subsidiary.