Viva Technology and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have called for applications for the first edition of the AfricaTech Awards, a pan-African initiative developed to recognise and support the most innovative and impactful tech start-ups across the continent. Entrepreneurship has been a key driver of economic growth in Africa, promoting competitiveness and fostering job creation, particularly among young people. According to reports from Briter Bridges*, investment in African tech start-ups reached $4.9 billion in 2021, marking a significant increase from the $2.4 billion invested in 2020. Despite growing interest from investors, this is still a fraction compared to the funding that start-ups received in other parts of the world – for instance, in 2021, over $100 billion was invested in European start-ups and about $330 billion in start-ups in North America**. Moreover, a lack of infrastructure and inadequate regulations often present additional challenges to the scale-up of start-ups across Africa
“Africa is buzzing with innovative tech solutions that can help address climate change, promote food security, and expand financial inclusion,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director. “Yet over 80% of African start-ups report difficulties in accessing funding. Initiatives like the AfricaTech Awards, which bring together entrepreneurs, governments, and investors, are key to attracting the resources and support that tech start-ups need to scale their innovations across the continent and beyond.” The AfricaTech Awards will recognize African start-ups that are driving innovation and development impact in three main sectors – climate tech, health tech, and fintech. Participating startups will have until March 25, 2022 to submit their applications. In May, with support from Viva Technology and IFC, a panel of industry experts from our knowledge partner Deloitte will pre-select the top 45 applicants. The final winners in each category will be announced during the 2022 edition of Viva Technology, taking place on June 15-18 in Paris and online.
Each of the three category winners will benefit from increased visibility and access to the networks provided by Viva Technology and IFC, including select one-on-one meetings with leaders and top executives in the tech industry. For Viva Technology Co-Presidents Maurice Lévy and Pierre Louette and Managing Director Julie Ranty: “We have been impressed by the quality of African innovations during our various on-site roadshows and in our meetings with the 1000+ African startups that have already taken part in VivaTech. With the AfricaTech Awards, our objective is to boost visibility for African innovation ecosystems and to create opportunities for African entrepreneurs within global markets.”