Sanofi VivaTech in Paris - AfricaTech

Quæfacta had the pleasure of joining VivaTech AfricaTech Paris at Sanofi on Friday morning.😊  This is the second year AfricaTech will be hosted in Paris, with 250 startup applicants competing for 3 challenges at VivaTech on 16th May.

The representation of 8 African countries including:

  • Dakar, Senegal
  • Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Douala, Cameroon
  • Casablanca, Morocco
  • Tunis, Tunisia
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Lagos, Nigeria

The first panel discussion covered the â€˜Corporate Perspective on Open Innovation in Africa’, represented by AfricaTech lab partners; Sanofi, Société Générale, Vinci and Total.

On the stage, the representatives discussed their willingness to form collaborative partnerships with African startups, offering support and opportunities to overcome the challenges associated with new startups in the African ecosystem. Bridging funding gaps, supporting startups in the scale up phase and finding solutions for local problems were amongst the topics covered.

We heard Ms Valerie-Noelle Kodjo Diop, Head of Innovation & New Banking Solutions for Société Générale, speaking on opening core banking systems to help startups accelerate by adopting an open minded and creative approach. Ms Kodjo diop discussed the new risks like data â€˜the new asset of Africa’, and the requirement to put regulations and framework in place to protect customer and consumer data.

Also, we had a chance to hear Mr Jon Fairest, VP of Sanofi Africa discussing the benefits of exposing African startups to a larger network, offering opportunities for healthcare programs to be delivered ‘on the ground’ covering remote rural areas with limited access to services. Successful programs such as rapid checkup medical clinics in Kenya, are digitalised healthcare clinics partly financed by government to manage patient diseases, data and address the patient journey to improve healthcare outcomes.

I had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Mr Fairest following the meeting. I really enjoyed hearing this panel discussion, as I believe Quæfacta has a role to play in healthcare and open innovation in Africa.

The second panel covered the ecosystem of startups and helping startups grow. Ms Hatoumata Magassa, Coordinator of AFIDBA spoke about supporting the scaling up process by providing a digital and inclusive business model.

The three key areas of focus include:

  1. Skill development for African entrepreneurs;
  2. Funding options – hybrid funding – 50% subsidy, 50% loan options;
  3. Sensitisation to ecosystem – providing better support for digital and inclusive business.

Some challenging areas for African startups mentioned include; addressing legal framework, accessing funds to scale up, and adhering to regulatory requirements for governments, policy makers and corporates.

Quæfacta is looking forward to attending VivaTech AfricaTech in Paris on the 16th May and supporting the African startup ecosystem and challenges! Bon courage à tous!

Lea Dias

CEO at Quæfacta