important Actor of the stage tech african, which it plugs as many players as possible with companies from all regions of the world, Afrobytes has been participating in any 21-start-up african. It must be said that next to its dimension of solidarity the project WAN (Worldwide African Network), initiated to raise awareness of the risk of infection, engage in a collective reflection on Africa, and to give visibility to the actors of the construction of any type on the continent, is in itself a project of which the main stage is driven by the digital. All exchanges between artists or between entrepreneurs, all concerts, all the debates, have been made accessible through this. What more natural, therefore, that of associate of the african actors of the tech at the time where the Covid-19 just to remind all of the fragility of this sector, strategic advantage to be vital for an Africa that is resolutely turned towards its reconstruction from a paradigm renewed. The two co-founders that are Haweya Mohamed and Ammin Youssouf responded to the Point Africa to illustrate with their words the relevance of a strong presence of start-ups in africa to such an event.
The Point Africa : p our specialists of the ecosystem of new technologies in african that you are, in which the presence of 21 start-up of the continent to an event such as a WAN in an Africa Day does it make sense ?
Haweya Mohamed and Ammin Youssouf : The crisis is destructive. It has ravaged the economies in Africa as elsewhere. But, to paraphrase Schumpeter, the challenge is to make it " creative ". The imperative of social distancing has highlighted practices that will be essential not only to reduce the health and economic impact the immediate, but also to transform durably the continent : teleworking, telemedicine, e-commerce, mobile payment...
With this crisis, Africa has an appointment with his economic history. The transformation to digital is no longer an option, but will be the basis for the african model of development. It cannot operate only with the mass adoption and fast-track new uses by populations. The event WAN, which will be released with the support of the african Union of broadcasting on all the national channels of the continent, and will allow us to bring forward an exceptional way, the models developed by the start-up. With more than 150 public and private channels in african, the reversal potential of the content by the asian counterparts of the PSU, the relay on the Internet with Unesco, we speak of several hundreds of millions of potential viewers. This is totally unprecedented.
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What are the lines of force around which you have chosen the start-up that would come with this day ?
As it was impossible in three weeks to call for nominations, the selection was therefore made on the experience of actors engaged for years and who are well versed in the ecosystem. We were joined for this Africa Tech Summit, TechPoint. Africa, GreenTec Capital, Afric'Up and African Tech Roundup.
the first of The requirements was a perfect parity between men and women. Eleven entrepreneurs, ultra-shiny for a selection of twenty and a start-up. The second was a decidedly pan-african, with 13 nationalities on 21 projects. Thus, Egypt and Zimbabwe are going to discover the Benin and Tunisia.
It is also a whole battery of criteria which make a selection to send a strong message :the sectors in which Africa excels : Fintech (Tudo, Paydunya) and Social Commerce (Mustard) ;innovation in health (GoMedical, Medsaf, Sila Health) ;sustainable development (Coliba), and the" upcycling " (Reform Studio), that is a very strong trend of circular economy and in which Africa has excelled ever since (" valuing objects or used products by giving them a new life, a more qualitative ") ;advanced agriculture (Seabex) and traceable (Kahawa 1893), and linking this sector with that of the beauty (Kadalys, Skin Gourmet) and fooding bio african (Glow) ;a draft of a vision with cutting-edge engineering african exports in the world (Enova Robotics, iCog Labs) ;the city of tomorrow : how design-of-service (Bridge Labs) in the mobility (Teliman), energy (Shyft Power) ?the music, of course, with new tools for african artists (Mookh) ;and, finally, digital inclusion (Hope Tech Plus, Akira Chix), because no one will be left by the wayside !
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What is the current impact of the crisis of the Covid-19 in the ecosystem of tech in africa ?
In Europe or in the United States, investors have largely postponed their investments of 1 to 2 years to focus on the rescue of what they have already in the portfolio. Suffice to say an eternity, which will be fatal to many start-ups. Then, imagine what it will be for Africa ! At best, only deals in discussion for months and will may be complete. And the problem is that a lot of the funds invested in tech came from foreign investors. We are going to find here and there some investments, but it is almost anecdotal in relation to the needs. And this is the string that is in danger, because you have a nice invest in the boot, if nobody takes the relay on the following phases of development, it will be very difficult for a start-up which models burn a lot of cash.
investors in tech who are leaving the continent are making a mistake. Khadijat Abdulkadir, founder of Tudo, a start-up selected, summarizes things well when she says that" we must dare to take a risk with Africa because there is not much to do elsewhere ". Assefa Getnet, of iCog Labs, said, him, as simply as, " in a decade, Africa will be too great for those who have not gained a foothold on the continent now ".
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What are the possible solutions here and there to revive this ecosystem is now being challenged by the multiple needs of Africans ?
there is a need for more visibility for the tech african.
The show WAN is a first response. We can never thank enough Amobé Mévégué, the initiator of this project, which was immediately acceded to the idea of creating this cocktail music, leadership and innovation. The project WAN, it is a progressive approach and unifying, and that will develop in the next few months.
there is a need for more collaborations.
in the last five years, with Afrobytes, we have organized events in tech in the United States (San Francisco, New York), Asia (hong Kong), Europe (Paris, London) and of course in Africa (Nairobi, Addis Ababa). Links have been forged with global players like PayPal, Google, IE Business School, Facebook, the Medef International, Station F, Eutelsat, GIZ, Kaspersky... On the continent, we are members of Afrilabs, which is the largest gathering of tech hubs in africa. We are also members of Startup Sesame, which brings together the events, tech, major in Europe (Slush, The Next Web, Hello Tomorrow...).
We are launching so soon to the platform AfricanTechIndustry.com, which will be designed to accelerate commercial partnerships between all these actors.
there is a need for more confidence in our abilities.
The start-up in africa will have to massively needs of users in africa to grow. People may benefit from products and services designed by Africans for Africans in all the essential areas of their lives. It is the building in the most inclusive possible an " african tech industry." Ecosystem tech africa must create its own narrative and stop wanting to be called "Silicon this" or "Valley" this ".
regarding your experience in the field, what would it enrich the existing to install a virtuous circle in this environment tech ?
We have three challenges to face that don't cost billions of dollars of foreign investment but whose success relies solely on our ability to gather around common aims : the challenge of technology transfer for the more rapid dissemination of innovation across the continent ; the challenge of inclusiveness has to be some design products and services that cater to the largest number ; the challenge of local processing to retain more value in our trade.
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