The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) group, a public institution that implements France’s policy on development and international solidarity, has launched a new seed fund of 15 million euros for startups of 45 African countries. Each financial support may reach a maximum of 300,000 euros. Called Digital Africa, the fund will above all be dedicated to digital startups, incubators, hubs and accelerators. It will be ddeployed by local partners. Digital Africa is part of AFD’s Choose Africa offer, committed to devoting 2.5 billion euros to nearly 10,000 African startups, micro-businesses and SMEs by 2022.
“Climate action, sustainable development, social ties… This new fund aims to stimulate the creation of 100% African startups, all of which have a positive impact on society. Through this support, the French Development Agency wishes to accelerate innovation not only economic, but also social and societal ”, commented Bertrand Walckenaer, Deputy Managing Director of the French Development Agency.
AFD wants to develop access to early-stage financing
According to AFD, only 20% of African SMEs are eligible for a bank loan and 87% of African startups do not benefit from any funding. The new fund aims to allow more startups to access funding at the start of their activity and to foster the emergence of an environment conducive to digital innovation in a sustainable manner. It relies for this on six programs: two professionalization and technical assistance programs dedicated to incubators, hubs and accelerators, and four funding programs dedicated to startups themselves.
“The funding of startups will be put at the service of African populations, the benefit of which will be tangible on more sustainable cities, a better social link and greater equality between women and men”, continued Bertrand Walckenaer.