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Tech start-ups in Ghana, Morocco and Tanzania are set to benefit from a partnership between AfricArena, Africa’s leading tech ecosystem accelerator and deal-flow platform, and FMO, the international development bank of the Netherlands.
The announcement comes as AfricArena hosts more than 45 start-ups from across the continent at Viva AfricArena in Paris, France. The techpreneurs – from seed to growth stages – are now pitching to foreign markets in various high-adrenaline battles at Station F, the world’s largest start-up facility located in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.
AfricArena founder Christophe Viarnaud says the e will support agritech, fintech, and energy-access start-ups in Ghana, Morocco and Tanzania. These ventures will compete in pitch competitions at AfricArena’s North Africa and East Africa regional summits with the winners to be showcased at the AfricArena Grand Summit in November this year.
“We are thrilled that our long-standing relationship with the FMO is translating into support to the AfricArise programme, and in particular its focus on agritech companies from three top African ecosystems,” says Viarnaud. “Our team will be working relentlessly to leverage our unique capability to identify, showcase and help connect African tech start-ups with market access and funding opportunities.”
According to Marieke Roestenberg, FMO ventures programme manager, the partnership with AfricArena supports its own journey to promote a sustainable tech ecosystem, including in agritech, fintech and energy-access business models.
This is especially in newer tech hubs across the continent, says Roestenberg. “We look forward to supporting AfricArena and collaborating with the broader consortium to accelerate start-ups in these sectors.”
Interested start-ups can already apply and possibly qualify for a number of benefits from the FMO Sustainable Tech Open Innovation Challenge hosted in partnership with the AfricArise annual programme.
AfricArise is described by Viarnaud as a virtual Pan African start-up investor network platform that connects more than 80 start-ups and investors. It helps start-ups to scale internationally through mentorship, webinars, coaching and investment deal support.
D-day for Viva AfricArena
Meanwhile, excitement is building as more than 45 African start-ups will today participate in the Paris-based Viva AfricArena. For this event, AfricArena vows to turn the most prominent start-up incubator in the world, Station F, into a stage for African techpreneurship.
Viarnaud will kick off Viva AfricArena while venture capitalist and KnifeCap co-founder Keet van Zyl will deliver the keynote address on the state of tech in Africa.
Yesterday, no less than 23 start-up founders, together with Furaha Afrika chief executive Matsi Modise, kickstarted their French tour at the offices of Breega, a European venture capital fund designed to finance start-ups in the digital economy. Breega chief executive Ben Marrel shared his insights on raising capital from an investor’s perspective.
Sophia Benhaddou, co-founder of Excelway, a Paris-based start-up, took to Twitter to say, “We’re incredibly enthusiastic about being part of the first AfricArena summit in Europe and look forward to connecting with the vibrant community of Africa-focused investors, ecosystem players, corporates, and founders.
Oumar Basse, the co-founder and chief executive of Yobante Express in Senegal, says, “I am stoked to share that I will be at Viva AfricArena in Paris after successfully piloting for over 10 months in France, Brussels, Spain and Italy.”
Viva AfricArena follows after a new report by AfricArena revealed that venture capital funding for African start-ups will reach a record of $2.25 billion and $2.8 billion this year. While 2020 stunted its growth, VC investment is expected to climb sharply and exceed $10 billion by 2025.
Currently, Nigeria and Kenya are the hotspots for African VC investment with $307 million and $305 million raised in 2020, respectively. Egypt is also a major player with $269 million of funding recorded last year while South Africa had $259 million.
Rwanda has positioned itself as a hub for East Africa and it enjoyed great success with $126 million raised in 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic halted its impressive progress and that figure tumbled by 91% to just $11.6 million last year.