With the Africa-Europe Foundation now established as partner of choice following its inception last year, EMERGING Valley will build on the dual ambition of its founding edition in 2017: to transform Africa-Europe relations by bringing together different innovation ecosystems for the common good, and to make the Aix-Marseille-Provence territory the natural HUB of impact innovation between the two shores of the Mediterranean. EMERGING Valley has quickly established itself as a flagship event for African Tech.
In just 4 years of existence, the event has gone from being a conference to an international summit bringing together hundreds of start-ups and international speakers from several dozen countries, thousands of participants, and dozens of investors and country delegations.
In order to build and strengthen a new relationship between Africa and Europe through digital technology – and prepare for the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the EU-AU Summit in 2022 – the Africa Europe Foundation and EMERGING Valley will come together on December 14, with key actors and stakeholders from digital ecosystems across the two shores of the Mediterranean.
Startups, investors, and local authorities, think-tanks, and public sector organizations from both continents will all meet in Marseille to co-create sustainable and resilient solutions for digital solidarity between our two continents.
From the United Nations to the European Commission, the African Union and the local authorities of Aix-Marseille-Provence: they have all agreed to meet in December for this final Tech and business meeting which marks a very special year for entrepreneurs from both continents.
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As Africa and Europe race to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063, taking much needed steps to regain the progress that has been lost due to the COVID-19, the shortage of healthcare workers, vaccine inequity, along with unprecedented strain on health systems has triggered an accelerated opportunity for digital healthcare solutions to bridge the gap between healthcare and those it serves.
Europe’s telehealth market, is estimated to grow four-fold, and in Africa – by 2030 the health market is estimated to be at 259 billion USD; the second largest global market after the US. Digital health has been a critical tool for most patients, health service providers, and professionals to connect and navigate social distance as the “new normal”. Digital solutions will accelerate the adoption of an outpatient setting, they will enhance a customer centric approach, and will stimulate a greater interest from citizens to be more and more in touch of overseeing their healthcare.
However, most digital health startups do not survive long, mostly losing steam before realizing adequate profits. Despite having sufficient users, investor funding, and buzz across their products, these startups go out of business quite swiftly.
Questions will include:
- What are some common problems digital health start-ups face across both continents?
- How can digital-health solutions be deployed and scaled up for use?
- What are the opportunities for collaboration and joint ventures between start-up e-health ecosystems between Africa and Europe?
Senior Fellow for Digital, Africa Europe Foundation
Pablo Ruiz Muzquiz
CEO And Co-Founder, Kaleidos
Sarah Ben Slimene
Co-Founder & CTO, Cognition
Journalist, Forbes Afrique
The Covid-19 pandemic has had surprising outcomes, one of them being the adoption of digital technologies across the globe. Although African citizens still suffer from inequalities in accessing the internet or smartphones, growth has been real. And yet, this acceleration does not necessarily come easy, nor free. We have seen in previous years how Facebook, Google or Elon Musk have come to Africa to conquer the last digital frontier. “Free Basics”, “Loon”, or “Starlink” are all projects that intend to connect the continent with itself and with the world, with a value proposition either downgraded, or unfitted to local needs. Rarely these strategic tools are African owned.
With such powerful international actors, Africa runs the risk of ceding access to a significant control of its countries’ digital economy. Africa might indeed appear as the last bastion to conquer for web giants, since a vast majority of the world’s unconnected population resides on the continent. This presents a golden opportunity for companies whose economic model is highly dependent on the sale of their user data, it also poses a new threat to African digital sovereignty. These questions are not Africa specific, Europe shares much of the same pressure in its relationship with tech giants. Faced with similar challenges Europe and Africa appear as natural partners that could join forces and balance the power of US and Asian giants.
Sharing best practices, cocreating new models and working together are a step in the right direction for both continents’ digital sovereignty. African and European tech ecosystems must leverage these interlinked interests to develop their economies, their competencies, and their positioning on the world digital stage. Strategies are left to be to be identified and alliances to be reinvented in order to ensure the resilience of societies in a post-Covid world and a shared digital fate, oriented towards the common good. Those solutions might require a Europe-Africa approach.
- How do both continents position themselves in front of firms that at times hold more sway and power than countries themselves?
- What strategies should governments adopt to face this pressure? How can the protection of personal data be guaranteed when Africa is still the continent with the smallest number of data centres?
- How can African stakeholders carve out a harmonized framework that would take into account public and private standards? Could governments in both Europe and Africa leverage tax policy as a way to loosen up GAFAM’s grip on their digital economy?
Government Chief Innovation Officer & Advisor to the Minister of Innovation and ICT of Rwanda
Eva Sow Ebion
Member of the Digital Strategy Group of the Africa-Europe Foundation & Senior Director of International Business, Asseco Organizations in Africa
Founder EMERGING Valley & Member of the Digital Strategy Group of the Africa Europe Foundation and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Youssef is Senior Fellow for Digital and responsible for driving, leading and supporting the strategic development, coordination and delivery of the Africa Europe Foundation’s Digital Strategy Group. The founder of AllSights Africa, Youssef is also the former Vice President of the Next Einstein Forum and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) global network as well having led AIMS Senegal as President. As a senior executive, Youssef has 20+ years of experience working both at a strategic and operational level, in science, innovation, public policy design, including innovative products policies, in the USA, Europe and in Africa. Throughout his career he has worked closely with universities, research institutions, the private sector, regional organizations as well as national and international NGO’s, and has authored and co-authored over 100+ publications in scientific and policy research, and published continental visions, research agendas and white papers.
Pawel Hansdorfer is an expert in public and private sector mission critical systems, with over 25 years of IT experience. He is specifically focused on emerging markets, seeking to identify solutions to government’s IT requests. Asseco is the largest IT software company in Central and Eastern Europe, operating in eight African countries. Hansdorfer’s work at Asseco focusses on supporting local African IT development, capacity building and knowledge transfer processes.
Samir Abdelkrim is not only a French entrepreneur but also an author and a tech reporter. Passionate about all things digital, he founded EMERGING Valley as an international summit on African innovation to connect tech start-ups with investors, thinkers and decision-makers across continents. He also leads StartupBRICS, a company that provides insights on entrepreneurship in emerging economies. Abdelkrim is a former chronicler on African tech entrepreneurs for Le Monde and has also featured in the Huffington Post, Le Point and Les Echos. His book, “Startup Lions”, chronicles his experience travelling the African continent in search of the most interesting and innovative tech start-ups. With French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative “Summit of the Two Shores of the Mediterranean”, Abdelkrim was amongst 10 selected to make proposals to relaunch European and Mediterranean cooperation.
- European Defence Studies
- By Paul Taylor
- Frankly Speaking
- By Joe Litobarski
- By Jamila Aanzi
- By Jamie Shea
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- Area of Expertise
- Peace, Security & Defence