Africa Rising. This was the golden thread woven throughout the third annual AfricArena Summit which recently took place in Cape Town. Here, issues affecting the African tech ecosystem were unpacked by speakers comprised of some of the most interesting thought leaders, founders, investors and corporate changemakers of our time.
Opening the event, Silicon Cape Director, Zimkhita Buwa, said: “Africa is synonymous with opportunity. Yes, we have incredible challenges, but we are not waiting on the side-lines for the world to provide us with solutions, we are creating our own solutions using our own technology.”
AfricArena Founder, Christophe Viarnaud, continued: “Africa is rising. The amount of investment has doubled every year for the last three years, particularly in the tech sector. We cracked the $1 billion mark for the first time last year and we think that this amount will be even bigger this year, with over $1.2 billion being invested.
Sadly however, this is still less than 1% of global funding that goes towards tech startups. We can’t grow this continent which will have a population of over four billion by the end of the century – the majority of the planet – if we don’t dramatically increase that number. Our mission, as AfricArena, is to create opportunities for investment and make a difference by helping entrepreneurs - the number one asset on the continent – which, in turn, will deliver value to investors and create much-needed jobs.”
French Ambassador to South Africa, Aurélien Lechevallier, shared that at the South Africa Investment Conference held earlier this month, several French companies announced that they would invest more than R20 billion in South Africa in the next three years. “We will ensure that part of this investment will be filtered through small and medium enterprises. France and South Africa share the same belief in the potential of Africa’s tech ecosystem, but we know that the main challenge remains to mobilise enough resources from private investors to make it grow. As President Macron declared, France is committed to support African startups and SMEs by helping some of them to overcome the access to funding gap.”
He went on to say that the French Development Agency has launched Choose Africa to bring support to 10,000 African companies between 2018 and 2022 by mobilising €1 billion, another €1 billion in equity and €1.5 billion in credit lines. Within this initiative, there is a focus on the digital economy and innovation, driven by a dedicated online platform called Digital Africa which will help African entrepreneurs to get in touch with their counterparts as well as financial and industry partners both in France and other African countries. It will also enable them to participate in specific calls for proposals and challenges. President Macron’s launch of a €65 million fund to support the acceleration of startups on the African continent last year is also a very strong signal of France’s commitment towards cooperation in service to innovation.”
During the panel discussion on Next Generation Angels, Tomi Davies a Nigerian British Investor, Entrepreneur and Advisor to companies on technology strategy, posed the controversial question: “Why can’t Africa build Africa? I’m under no illusion that we are going to do it all by ourselves, but I do believe that charity should begin at home.”
Fellow panellist, Nigerian Entrepreneur, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, added: “More than 50% of the world’s population over the next 35 years is going to be in Africa. Ultimately, this will either be a bomb or a boon for the global economy. Investors that are not betting on Africa, are betting against the global economy. In Africa there is talent that can learn anything, more relaxed governance restrictions and the ability of businesses to grow very fast in contrast to other markets. What we need to do is continually build the infrastructure that makes this possible and support the growth of businesses."
Unpacking some of the gaps hampering Africa’s success was Venture Capitalist and Serial Entrepreneur, Vusi Thembekwayo, who explored four areas: the investment approach; the education gap; opportunistic BBBEEE Players and the infrastructure gap. “Africa doesn’t need pity, it needs opportunity, so how do we develop mechanisms that create and broaden access, but most importantly democratise opportunity?”
Picking up on this theme, Ketso Gordhan, CEO of the SA SME Fund, said: “Our hope and desire is to make sure that smart entrepreneurs are seizing upon how the world is changing and using new technologies to make the world a better place. Venture Capital (VC), for me, is about the future, it’s about innovation, it’s about economic advancement and solving what seem to be intractable problems speedily. However, in South Africa, some of the biggest problems affecting VC include a lack of access to capital, too few experienced VC fund managers, a weak pipeline of start-ups, high costs of failure - both financial and reputational - and a fractured VC ecosystem.” On this last issue, he urged attendees comprised of representatives from all spheres of the ecosystem to concentrate on partnerships rather than competition with each other. Gordhan also announced the launch of a new fund, Digital Africa Ventures, which is dedicated to financing early-stage African startups.
While speaking on the topic of Privacy & Ethics: Who’s responsibility is it anyway?Danai Musandu, Investment Associate at Goodwell Investments, warned: “As much as we can be excited about the booming digital age in Africa, we need to remember some key things about our continent – 54% of the population don’t have access to healthcare; one in six live off an electricity grid; and 70% of people are unbanked. So, when we talk about this continent, we need to be cognisant that we are talking about Africa’s mass population. We can’t talk about digital solutions without looking at the physical reality on the ground. We have to look at the people we are serving on this continent. We talk about all of this exciting digital innovation on the continent, but opportunity also brings with it more responsibility for all involved. We determine the narrative for our ecosystem, and as co-authors, we are equally responsible to ensure we build the right story; a story by Africans for Africa.”
Looking to the future, Thierry Barbaut, Digital and Communications Director at La Guide, said: “Africa will have a population of over 2.5 billion by 2050 and this requires solutions for providing food, water energy and healthcare for all. Technology and communication startups can provide this.” Giving the example of Rwanda, which was war-torn in the 1990s and is now thriving, he highlighted how tech startups are transforming health, energy, education agriculture and other sectors in the country, with many of these models being replicated in bigger countries.
Viarnaud brought the event to a close by stating: “There is no question that Africa is the future. As AfricArena, we will continue working to bring the continent’s tech ecosystem together to ensure that it is a successful one.”
For more information, go to https://www.africarena.com.
AfricArena is an ecosystem and accelerator, which, through a series of events and interventions all over the African continent and abroad, aims to create an impact that delivers value to investors, creates jobs and helps entrepreneurs - the number one asset on the continent.
About the AfricArena Summit:
The AfricArena Summit is an annual conference that showcases Africa's best startups and innovators in front of an audience of international and local investors looking for world-class talent. It is also an opportunity for attendees to gain expert insights from some of the most interesting thought leaders, founders, investors and corporate changemakers of our time. This year’s event, which took place on the 11th and 12th of November 2019 in Cape Town, featured over 100 startups, more than 50 speakers, in excess of 20 exhibitors and hosted 600 plus delegates, along with more than 150 investors. Most importantly, it had a $3 million impact on startup companies.
非洲正在崛起。这是最近在开普敦举行的第三届年度AfricArena Summit 上的主线。在这里，影响非洲科
开幕式上，硅谷负责人 Zimkhita Buwa 表示：“非洲是机遇的代名词。是的，我们面临着令人难以置信的
AfricArena 创始人 Christophe Viarnaud 继续说道：“非洲正在崛起。在过去三年中，投资额每年都翻一
番，特别是在科技领域。去年，我们首次突破 10 亿美元大关，我们认为今年的投资额将更大，投资额将
将无法发展这个本世纪末将拥有超过 40 亿人口-占地球的大部分-的大陆。我们作为AfricArena 的使命是
法国驻南非大使Aurélien Lechevallier 表示，在本月初举行的南非投资会议上，几家法国公司宣布，他们
将在未来三年内在南非投资超过 200 亿兰特。 “我们将确保通过中小型企业过滤掉部分投资。法国和南
他继续说，法国发展署已经启动了``选择非洲''计划，通过筹集 10 亿欧元，另外 10 亿欧元的股本和 15 亿
欧元的信贷额度，在 2018 年至 2022 年间为 10,000 家非洲公司提供支持。在该计划中，着眼于数字经济
统去年启动了一项 6500 万欧元的基金，以支持非洲大陆的初创企业的加速发展，这也非常有力地表明了
在关于下一代天使的小组讨论中，尼日利亚的英国投资者、企业家和技术战略顾问 Tomi Davies 提出了一
小组成员，尼日利亚企业家 Iyinoluwa Aboyeji 补充说：“在未来 35 年中，全球 50％以上的人口将在非
消除阻碍非洲成功空白的是风险资本家和连续企业家 Vusi Thembekwayo，他探索了四个领域：投资方式；
教育差距；机会主义的 BBBEEE 参与者与基础设施的差距“非洲不需要怜悯，它需要机会，那么我们如何开发机制来创造和扩大获取机会，最重要的是使机会民主化？”SA中小企业基金会首席执行官 Ketso Gordhan 谈到了这一主题：“我们的希望和愿望是确保聪明的企业家抓住世界的变化方式，并利用新技术使世界变得更美好。对我来说，风险投资（VC）与未来有关，与创新有关，与经济发展有关，并迅速解决似乎棘手的问题。但是，在南非，影响风险投资的一些最大问题包括：缺乏获得资本的渠道，经验丰富的风险投资基金经理太少，初创企业的渠道薄弱，失败的成本高昂（包括财务和声誉方面的损失）以及风险投资的破裂在最后一个问题上，他敦促来自生态系统各个领域的代表组成的与会者要专注于伙伴关系，而不是彼此竞争。
Gordhan 还宣布推出新基金Digital Africa Ventures，专门为早期非洲初创公司提供资金。在谈到“隐私与伦理：到底是谁的责任”这一话题时，Goodwell Investments 投资合伙人Danai Musandu警告说：“尽管我们为非洲蓬勃发展的数字时代感到兴奋，但我们需要记住一些关于我们大陆的重要事情–54％的人口无法获得医疗保健；六分之一的人靠电网生活； 70％的人没有银行服务。因此，当我们谈论这个大陆时，我们必须意识到我们在谈论非洲的人口众多。我们不谈地面物理现实就不能谈论数字解决方案。我们必须看看我们在这个大陆上服务的人。我们谈论了非洲大陆所有令人兴奋的数字创新，但机遇也为所有相关人员带来了更多责任。我们确定生态系统的叙述方式，作为合著者，我们同样有责任确保建立正确的故事；非洲人为非洲撰写的故事。”展望未来，La Guide 数字和通讯总监 Thierry Barbaut 表示：“到 2050 年，非洲人口将超过 25 亿，这需要为所有人提供食物，水能和医疗保健的解决方案。以卢旺达为例，卢旺达在 1990 年代饱受战争之苦，如今正在蓬勃发展。他以卢旺达为例，他强调了科技创业公司如何改变该国的健康，能源，教育农业和其他部门，其中很多在较大的国家中复制了这些模型。Viarnaud 宣布活动结束：“毫无疑问，非洲是未来。作为AfricArena，我们将继续致力于将非洲大陆的技术生态系统整合在一起，以确保它是一个成功的生态系统。
关于 AfricArenaAfricArena 是一个生态系统和加速器，它通过在整个非洲大陆和国外进行的一系列活动和干预，旨在创造一种影响力，为投资者带来价值，创造就业机会并帮助企业家-非洲大陆的头号资产。
关于AfricArena Summit：AfricArena 峰会是每年一度的会议，在寻求世界一流人才的国际和本地投资者面前展示非洲最好的初创企业和创新者。与会者也有机会从当今最有趣的思想领袖，创始人，投资者和企业变革者那里获得专家见解。今年的活动于 2019 年 11 月 11日至 12日在开普敦举行，吸引了 100 多家初创公司，50 多位演讲者，超过 20个参展商，并接待了 600 多名代表以及 150 多名投资者。最重要的是，它对初创公司产生了 300 万美元的影响。