Lancement de la nouvelle édition de Digital Africa, le concours d’innovations pour relever le défi de la transition numérique en Afrique

Launching of the new edition of Digital Africa, an innovation competition to take up the challenge of digital transition in Africa

Deadline for startups to submit their projects on is the 22nd of October.

Paris, 19th of September 2017 – For the 40th birthday of Proparco, the subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) focused on private sector, AFD and Bpifrance are launching, in partnership with the French Tech initiative, the second edition of Digital Africa, a startup competition and digital innovation to support sustainable development in Africa. The first edition of the Digital Africa challenge, launched in October 2016, received more than 500 applications and rewarded 10 startups which convinced the judging panel on the potential impact of their innovation. Building on this success, AFD and Bpifrance have decided to renew the experience with the objective of offering a long-term support to the emergence of mature and solid digital ecosystems, catalysers of new economic opportunities.

Digital technology, a great accelerator of Africa’s development

Digital revolution is transforming the African continent. It’s an innovative catalyst that revolutionizes economies and societies. Ecology, energy, culture, education, artistic creation, governance, media: digital technology has a transversal and multiplying impact in all those key sectors.

« Abundant digital innovation in Africa accelerates leapfrogging and favours the emergence of the continent. Through Digital Africa, AFD supports emblematic startups of the digital African ecosystems, avant-guardiste actors of economic and societal transitions”

Digital innovation is abundant in Africa. Africans are making a technological leap that accelerates the emergence of the continent. Through Digital Africa, AFD supports emblematic startups of the digital African ecosystems, and fulfills its mission of development in the service of education and innovation, in the digital age. Development is now moving in both directions, between the two shores of the Mediterranean » -Rémy Rioux, AFD Executive Director.

Nicolas Dufourcq, Bpifrance Executive Director claims « We are proud to participate in the Digital Africa challenge and to support 5 French startups in their development on the African continent which nowadays offers great opportunities. This challenge represents a straight continuation of our action for the internalization of enterprises and their cooperation with the African continent ».

« Innovation in Africa is showing extraordinary development, ecosystems are being structured, and startups are spreading across the continent. By promoting the links between French and African entrepreneurs today, our ecosystems are building a common future. Digital Africa is for French Tech an additional step to bring this ambition with Africa », David Monteau, La French Tech Director, Ministry of Economy and Finance.

A fully customized programme

All the startup winners of this second edition of the Digital Africa challenge will benefit from a high visibility and access an international network of partners, clients and investors. They will be part of a community that gathers the best talents of digital innovation in Africa and for Africa, in order to share experiences and good practices.

The 5 African winning startups will be accompanied by the AFD through an “acceleration pack”, a customizable, technical and financial support up to a 30.000 euros value.

The 5 French winning startups will be accompanied by Bpifrance up to a 10.000 euros value support pack to strengthen their expertise and develop new opportunities on the African continent: Bpifrance Université training, networking and discovery trip to Abidjan and Cape Town with the French Tech.

« For a young startup, Digital Africa offers a great opportunity to gain a continental and international visibility. »

Dieu-Donné Okalas Ossami, E-Tumba, winning startup of the first edition of Digital Africa

What are the selection criteria?

For the second edition of Digital Africa, startups are invited to propose innovative projects linked to the following themes:

  • Territory (urban challenge, rural transformation, Smart City,…)
  • Citizenship (e-government, civic engagement, activism, alternative media,…)
  • Knowledge and creativity (education, formation, creative and cultural industries,…)
  • Environment and climate (green tech, clean tech, sustainable transportations, blue economy, renewable energies,…)

The relevance of the solutions proposed, their feasibility, sustainability and potential impact will be key criteria in the selection process divided in several steps:

  • An extensive analysis of the projects, of their innovative nature and of their business model;
  • A review of the pre-selected projects by AFD and Bpifrance experts;
  • A final selection by a jury composed by experts of the technological and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.


Pauline Mujawamariya, Director of the Innovation Prize for Africa – African Innovation Foundation

Tidjane Deme, General Partner of Partech Venture

Emeka Okofore, TED Global, for Africa

Aissatou Sow, Director of Development in Africa, Intel Corporation

Erick Young, CEO Greentec Capital Partners