Emerging Valley. Europe-Africa: ‘Innovative companies never need to meet too much’

a day to build bridges together (Photo Joël Barcy)

Samir Abdelkrim, founder of Emerging Valley, asserts its increasing power, its importance in the context of current crises: ” The geopolitical and environmental situation has never been so fragile, and this is why innovative companies have never had so many needs to meet and accelerate their development to have a concrete impact on absolutely important topics, such as of sovereignty. Even digital, food or energy sovereignty “.

Laure-Agnès Caradec, President of the Euroméditerranée Public Development Establishment recalled that Euromed, ” developer of the Mediterranean sustainable city, has been a partner of Emerging Valley since the beginning, to develop entrepreneurship between Europe and Africa on the challenges of energy, sustainable cities and innovation “. The elected official did not fail to highlight an event that took place shortly before the Emerging Valley, the installation of the sixteenth digital data cable, 2Africa, the largest submarine cable in the world, which has just been connected in Marseilles.

Michèle Rubirola, First Deputy Mayor of Marseille, for his part, insists on the importance of the diaspora present in Marseille to promote links and exchanges between Europe and Africa. He also stressed the need to put a globalization that is beneficial to all, smart, on a human level, inclusive “. For the selected: It is time to unleash all of Africa’s growth potential “.

“Our Euro-African partnership is more strategic”

Martine Vassal, the president of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and the Aix-Marseille Provence metropolis, considers: ” In a complex international context, our Euro-African partnership is more strategic than ever. Aix-Marseille-Provence and Department 13 strengthen their support for the Emerging Valley to unite this bridge between the two shores of the Mediterranean “. He remembered that” thanks to its geographical, economic and cultural advantages, our territory has become the leading digital hub for Africa in Europe. We continue to develop co-constructed innovative solutions together “.

It is up to Didier Parakian, vice-president of the Aix-Marseille Provence metropolis, to invent the metropolis’s candidacy for Icapitale, a candidacy supported by Emerging Valley.

The emerging valley is also competitions. The 2022 Med’Innovant Prize was awarded to a Tunisian startup, Wayout Ecological Solutions, which specializes in the treatment of urban wastewater. The Congolese startup, GreenBox, producer of green cold rooms received the “Coup de coeur” award. The Provence Africa Connect competition was won by Telaqua, which specializes in saving water for irrigation.

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Photo Joel Barcy

The “Provence Africa Connect” competition highlights and supports entrepreneurs who contribute to strengthening the partnership and economic links between the metropolitan territory of Aix-Marseille-Provence and Africa. Doctor Doudou Tamba Founder and CEO of Tamba Labs (2021 winner of the Provence Africa connect prize), speaks about the impact of this prize.

Nicolas Cavalier, co-founder of Telaqua (winner of the 2022 Provence Africa Connect prize) expressed his delight at getting the 2022 prize.

In the video Olivier Becht, Minister Delegate to the Minister for Europe and External Affairs in charge of Foreign Trade, recalls Attractiveness: ” The President of the Republic wants to rebuild the partnership that binds us to the African continent. This renewal must go through new economic links with an emphasis on digital technology and innovation “. This can be seen in particular by the first Africatech or even the 130M€ for digital technology and African entrepreneurship until 2025. A statement introducing the co-innovation debate.

Bertrand Walckenaer, Deputy Director General of the French Development Agency presented the action carried out on this continent by the AFD: ” There are three challenges for us in financing the energy transition: collective, trajectory and instruments “. He specified: ” together, we set up the “France in common” system that brings together 530 public banks around the world, representing 10% of global investment “. In terms of trajectory, it indicates achievements both in the solar and wind power fields as well as an expertise that makes it possible to define trajectories in terms of greenhouse gas emissions if nothing is done. About the instruments , he mentioned the various tools that allow France to invest 6 billion euros per year in the fight against global warming. In this regard, he emphasized the importance of the “social contract” to enable this transition.

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Throughout the day many round tables were arranged (Photo Joël Barcy)

We must change the perception of made in Africa

Birame N. Sock is a technology expert with more than 20 years of experience as a high-level technologist, entrepreneur and executive with a primary focus on digital. From Senegal, Birame N. Sock returned to his country where he founded Kwely, his latest startup, a new B2B wholesale sourcing marketplace showcasing African-made products. For him : ” We must change the perception of made in Africa, show, in the African market, that African products can be at the same level as imported products. You need to see Africa, but also the world as the African market “. and invite Europe to ” co-create in Africa by listening and understanding the needs of this continent “.

Daniel Schaer, Estonian Ambassador in charge of relations with Africa, explained why his country is developing its relations with this continent: “ We have one thing in common: digitization. Like this continent, we can skip steps to be direct in the change. We have put in place a system that simplifies life, reduces bureaucracy…, a system that countries like Benin enjoy. And we also learn from innovations, solutions in Africa “.

“Support tools based on the BPI model but adapted to each country”

For Isabelle Bébéar, Director of International and European Affairs at Bpifrance: “ We are in a changing, changing world and we adapt to this situation, to the needs of entrepreneurs that we also encourage to adapt, especially in terms of digitalization. “. He points out that the BPI also promotes exchanges, among others, with France-Afrique Entrepreneurs, allowing digital meetings between entrepreneurs but also physical ones in some countries. ” We are also partners of European operations that aim to connect European and African incubators Isabelle Bébéar added: “ We see African governments wanting to put in place their own funding tools, we are working with them to create their own support tools based on the BPI model but adapted to each country. “.

“The important question of food sovereignty”

Samir Abdelkrim comes to the round table on the important issue of food sovereignty. For him : ” It is important to jointly create solutions to rethink agriculture to strengthen food sovereignty between Europe and Africa “.

Arnaud Mercier, Councilor of the Department, Delegate for Management Control, Information Systems and Digital Services, pointed out a particularity of the Bouches-du-Rhône department: “ We export 80% of our production and we import 80% of the production needed for our consumption “. In this context, he explained: “The priority of the department like that of the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolis in agricultural matters is based on three axes: protecting the companies in the main textile by reducing the costs of operations; consolidate the potential of exploitation by protecting agricultural land; facilitate the access of our populations to local products and, if possible, at controlled prices”.

“Africa imports more than a million tons of fertilizer”

Mouhamadou Lamine Kebe, co-founder of Tolbi, a Senegalese start-up specializing in digital agriculture notes: ” Africa imports more than a million tons of fertilizer, mainly from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine for its production. Therefore, we have a very fragile system in relation to exogenous situations. We must anticipate and plan, promote the transition to sustainable agriculture “. To do this, he explained: Tolbi promotes solutions based on artificial intelligence, drones and the Internet aimed at developing smart agriculture, resilient to climate change. Advances that could prove very useful in Europe. »

“Less productive agriculture”

Valérie Verdier, CEO of IRD pointed out: ” We are part of a research that is jointly developed in a fair way. We have been working on food security for years by supporting an agriculture that is less dependent on inputs, respectful of the environment and more resilient to climate change. We must also work on the storage and processing of products. Then there is the issue of nutrition. We act to promote the development of an agriculture that is less productive but allows us to best meet the needs of the local population. We are working with research centers for this “. Then put a track: rice-fish farming. ” It is a question of combining fish farming and rice farming, the feeding of fish, through their loneliness, the plantations. “.

“Give the plant the water it needs”

Jean-Marc Philip, Sales and Innovation Director at Société Canal de Provence, said: ” Provence has 600,000 hectares of agricultural land, 40,000 jobs in this sector, but it is also an activity that suffers the effects of climate change. Our role is to support farmers on the path to resilience in the face of agroclimatic events “. He indicated that his company, in the territory but also in Africa wants to promote the preservation of the soil, reduce the use of inputs and water by promoting a system that allows the plant to be given only the water it needs this..” We also support agrivoltaism to produce energy and protect crops “.

For Bertrand Foffe, CEO of Jangolo: “ Food sovereignty begins with data sovereignty, ecosystems “. This shows Jangolo’s ambition to connect all the links in a chain from the producer to the seller and to the consumer. who must be aware that their purchase affects an entire chain “. He emphasized the fact that currently, in Africa, agricultural losses reach 40% due to lack of access to markets. ” We must make the chain efficient, build a distribution system to reduce losses “.

Michel CAIRE – Video report Joël BARCY

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(Photo by Joel Barcy)

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