By expanding and enhancing its capacity to assist early-stage African startups, Proparco is continuing its efforts to support VSE-SMEs. These efforts have already been stepped up since 2018 thanks to the Choose Africa initiative and are today bolstered by Digital Africa, which is now part of the AFD subsidiary.
To better support African entrepreneurs and companies, from the early stages of their growth. This is the objective of Proparco, the subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) dedicated to the private sector. On the sidelines of the New Africa-France Summit held on October 8 in Montpellier, France, the institution announced the implementation of a new mechanism for African digital start-ups. “To meet the needs of entrepreneurs, particularly at the start of their ventures, the Choose Africa initiative will now offer African startups financing and assistance tailored to early-stage development,” the institution said in the statement.
A total of €130 million will be deployed between now and 2025 in support of African digital startups through collaboration between Digital African and Proparco. The latter is aimed at strengthening France’s business support policy, especially on the startup component while it has been operating within the pan-African tech ecosystem since 2018.
« Continuum of financing offers spanning all stages in their development »
The Choose Africa Initiative, launched in 2018, was already addressing the issue of access to finance, one of the largest obstacles to entrepreneurial success in Africa. It will now expand the target by supporting startups from early-stage development. “With this new step forward, Choose Africa will be providing fledgling African small businesses a continuum of financing offers spanning all stages in their development,” Proparco stresses. “In the seed stage, Proparco will develop synergies with Digital Africa by providing the latter with enhanced capabilities, particularly for funding small-ticket ventures; in the subsequent stages, Proparco will continue to invest in startups to assist them as they scale up and grow their business,” it notes.
While €2.5 billion have already been committed for the benefit of 26,000 startups since 2018, a total of €130 million will be committed between 2022 and 2025 to support Africa’s digital startups — twice as much as the €65 million announced by President Macron in 2018 and already committed.
“By combining Proparco’s financial expertise with Digital Africa’s ability to source high-potential market solutions and nurture talent, we are creating a powerful tool for furthering digital innovation ‘made in Africa”
“By expanding and enhancing its capacity to assist early-stage African startups, Proparco continues with its drive to support Africa’s small businesses, as President Emmanuel Macron called for in Ouagadougou,” stated Grégory Clemente, the Chief Executive Officer of Proparco. “The synergies that will emerge from the tie-up between Proparco and Digital Africa will enable us to offer financing and assistance tailored to the various early stages for startups. Our collaboration will amplify the success of Choose Africa and its impact on job creation and economic development.”
Launched in 2018 and now part of Proparco, Digital Africa aims to strengthen the capacities of African entrepreneurs to design and use digital innovations on a large scale for the real economy. It will leverage its expertise as to the pan-African ecosystem as well as the partners of all nationalities – startups, researchers, incubators, institutional donors, venture capitalists, tech clusters – which it has brought together.
“2020 saw the launch of Bridge by Digital Africa, a fund developed by Digital Africa and run by Proparco to help organizations in the digital economy to sustain their growth through the post-COVID economic downturn. The success of the program led us to consider a closer partnership to assist innovative companies through their different development stages, says Stéphan-Eloïse Gras, Digital Africa’s Executive Director. “By combining Proparco’s financial expertise with Digital Africa’s ability to source high-potential market solutions and nurture talent, we are creating a powerful tool for furthering digital innovation ‘made in Africa’.”
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