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French Ambassador to South Africa Christophe Farnaud (Supplied)

French Ambassador hints at more AfricArena conferences for continent

Couldn’t make it to the AfricArena tech conference? The French Ambassador to South Africa Christophe Farnaud today hinted that there will be more AfricArena Conferences to come.

Farnaud (pictured above) was speaking on the sidelines of the two-day AfricArena Conference which kicked off today at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town. The conference is set to showcase African startups and connect them to international investors.

Over 400 delegates — 30 of them international investors — from 27 countries are expected to attend the conference. The organisers said about 80 startups will be at the conference with around 50 expected to pitch on the first day.

AfricArena organisers expect over 30 investors from 27 countries will attend the conference

“We hope it will be successful, if it is, there will be many others coming after that,” Farnaud told Ventureburn.

He said an initiative like the AfricArena Conference should be a long-term one.

“You have to adjust very quickly and at the same time you must keep the rhythm, and you must adjust to long-term evolution. So we must do it again and again,” he added.

Farnaud said the French government through La French Tech had contributed 25% of the funding for the conference as it considered it important to facilitate investment into startups by big corporates.

“The basis is not only to give support, it’s to create a supportive environment that allows for the development of the startups,” he said.

He added that the French government carried out similar initiatives in France itself as well as internationally in French tech hubs around the world.

He said that presently, there were only two such hubs in Africa located in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast and in Cape Town.

“We don’t do it to please the host countries, we do it because we think there is specific potential in these cities,” he said.

Farnaud said the French tech hub framework — through which local startup ecosystems partner with the French tech ecosystem — was allowing the French government to work with African startups.

“You have for instance the French tech hub ticket, which allows startups to go to France for some time and have special contact with the French companies which gives them the opportunity to get investors, training and experience,” he said.

Featured image: French Ambassador to South Africa Christophe Farnaud (Supplied)