Business

Digital Africa and Proparco join forces to strengthen the Choose Africa initiative

This is one of the major decisions taken on the sidelines of the Africa-France summit held on October 8, 2021 in Montpellier. The announced merger between Proparco and Digital Africa strengthens the Choose Africa initiative for the benefit of African startups in the creation phase.

By equipping itself with new capacities intended to better support African start-ups from the start-up phase, Proparco is continuing its efforts in favor of VSEs and SMEs, already accelerated since 2018 thanks to the initiative Choose Africa. This has made it possible to commit 2.5 billion euros since 2018 for the benefit of 26,000 companies.

In addition, an additional 130 million euros were made available for a new support system for African digital start-ups between 2022 and 2025, i.e. a doubling compared to the 65 million euros over the 2018-2022 period which had been announced by the President of the Republic and which have already been committed.

The initiative intends to launch a new community of entrepreneurs to network African VSEs / SMEs. Thus, to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, in particular at the start-up stage of their business, the initiative Choose Africa will now offer African start-ups financing and support adapted to the upstream phases of their development.

Access to finance is one of the main obstacles to entrepreneurial success in Africa. Through the initiative Choose Africa, AFD Group has been accelerating since 2018 the financing and support of start-ups, VSEs and SMEs on the African continent. While the initiative has already met with great success, Proparco wishes to go even further to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, in particular at the very early stages of their business development: from ideation to accelerating their growth. With this new component, the initiative Choose Africa will now offer African start-ups, micro-businesses and SMEs a continuum of financing offers covering all stages of their development:

– In the start-up phase, Proparco will create synergies with Digital Africa, which will be endowed with strengthened capacities, particularly in terms of financing on small tickets.

– In the following phases of their development, Proparco will continue to invest in start-ups to support their scaling up and their growth.

A total of 130 million euros will be committed between 2022 and 2025 to support African digital start-ups, i.e. a doubling compared to the 65 million euros which had been announced by the President of the Republic in 2018 and which have already been engaged.

« By acquiring new capacities intended to better support African start-ups from the start-up phase, Proparco is continuing its efforts in favor of African micro-businesses, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron in Ouagadougou. The synergies created by the merger between Proparco and Digital Africa will make it possible to offer financing and support adapted to the different stages of development of start-ups. This merger will amplify the success of the Choose Africa initiative and its impact on job creation and development. »Declared Grégory Clemente, Managing Director of Proparco.

« In 2020, Bridge by Digital Africa was launched, a fund designed by Digital Africa and operated by Proparco to enable players in the digital economy to continue their development in the post-COVID economic crisis phase. This project is a success and has led us to consider a closer merger to support innovative companies at the different stages of their development. By combining Proparco’s financial expertise with Digital Africa’s ability to source solutions with real market potential and support talents, we are creating a powerful tool at the service of digital innovation ‘made in Africa’»Added Stéphan-Eloïse Gras, Executive Director of Digital Africa.

THE CHOOSE AFRICA INITIATIVE IN KEY FIGURES

Concretization of the speech of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron in Ouagadougou in 2017, the French initiative Choose Africa finances and supports start-ups, VSEs and SMEs on the continent. Since 2018, AFD Group has been strengthening its commitment and putting all of its tools at the service of African entrepreneurship, which plays a major role in job creation and access to essential goods and services.

To date, 2.5 billion euros have been committed, including more than 600 million euros under the Resilience component launched in November 2020 in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

· This funding was granted in the form of loans, investments, guarantees and technical support to more than 200 partners – banks, investment funds, microfinance institutions, etc. – for the benefit of more than 26,000 start-ups, VSEs, SMEs and tens of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs.

· 1.5 million jobs, direct and indirect, will be created or maintained within 5 years.

A COMMUNITY BY AND FOR AFRICAN ENTREPRENEURS

Proparco – which has developed expertise and a client portfolio for 40 years in Africa – wishes to provide its clients with greater and more systematic benefit from its network, its intellectual production and its support tools.

In this context and to further enrich the offer of Choose Africa, Proparco wishes to launch a network of communities of African private actors with the aim of:

o The organization of exchanges and sharing between the beneficiary VSEs / SMEs;

o Putting these players in touch with international investors;

o Strengthening the link between African actors and the French ecosystem.

The objective is to allow African private actors to dialogue with each other and to build communities designed by and for African entrepreneurs.

Proparco has therefore launched a survey of more than 150 entrepreneurs participating in the Summit to identify the needs in the field. About thirty of them met to define the main characteristics of the community according to the expectations expressed. They also prototyped solutions aimed at meeting the networking expectations of entrepreneurs, improving knowledge and information sharing as well as cooperation with French partners operating in Africa.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button