Benin’s Sèmè City to become West Africa’s newest business hub

Sèmè City

The presidential office of Benin has launched an international call for all innovators earlier this week (28 June), to help in the development of Sèmè City.

Sèmè City aims to become a unique hub for education, research and business incubation in West Africa and will be situated in the coastal city of Cotonou, Benin.

One of the main attractions regarding Sèmè City would be its ability to generate and house educational establishments, and research and development centres which include a business incubator supporting up to 250 startups.

“Sèmè City symbolises our determination to promote knowledge as a growth driver and position Benin at the forefront of the knowledge economy on the international scene,” said President Patrice Talon in a press release to Ventureburn.

Talon has stated that the project will be receiving state support of XOF207-billion (roughly R4.7-billion at the time of publication) in the coming years. A portion of the stipulated amount has already been released to begin preparation work, according to the president.

The flagship project which will cover 350 hectares was also provided by the state.

Sèmè City will aim to be Benin’s living lab for entrepreneurs

“We are designing Sèmè City so it becomes an open-air laboratory – a ‘Living Lab’,” said Claude Borna, the development officer of Sèmè City.

Various points of call regarding the hubs strategic projects still in need of partners are:

  • Training — Schools – hotel management, IT, cinema and audio-visual design, socially impactful design, sustainable fashion.
  • Research — Laboratory for research and quality control of plant-based medication, laboratory of research for new medication.
  • Business incubation — Open innovation centres for innovative solutions associated with the concept of a sustainable city.

The calls for various projects will take part in three phases. The first taking place on 1 September 2017, which will signal the opening of the projects submission period.

Phase two will commence on 1 October 2017 where the submitted proposals will be reviewed. This process will continue until 15 November with announcements of the selected partners taking place on 31 January 2018.

“Our academic and private partners, as well as students, will be able to test solutions on site to respond to the challenges of economic and urban development in Africa: sustainable energy, urban mobility, sustainable construction, medical research, digital systems engineering and data management,” continued Borna.



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