Senegalese tech start-ups make business connections at VivaTech (en)
Africa is a rising innovation hub, home to more than 300 start-up incubators.
About 100 African start-ups participated in the annual trade show VivaTech in Paris, which drew more than 80,000 visitors from 23-24 May.
Senegalese businesses operated a stand and made business connections during the event, supported by the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Netherlands Trust Fund IV project.
Providing mobile financial services
Among noteworthy innovations showcased at the trade show were mobile payment solutions.
BBS Invest in Senegal has made mobile banking one of its specialities. Manager Abdourahmane Barry said: ‘Five percent of Senegalese have a bank account, yet half the population possesses a mobile phone. This solution wins over the non-banking population and offers an alternative to bank transfers.’
Barry adds: ‘We’re looking to develop our services all over Senegal and in Africa. VivaTech put us in contact with technical partners. Discussions are also under way with multinationals interested in the African market.’
Upgrading transport, logistics services
Oumar Yam is co-founder of the Senegalese platform OuiCarry, whose clients can order products from any international site and receive deliveries anywhere in Senegal. He says the contacts he made at the trade fair will help the start-up extend its services to the whole of the African continent.
‘VivaTech allowed me to encounter two major support programmes,’ Yam said. ‘I’m actively preparing our application, as the prospects for development are significant.’
Paps, the first geo-tracking delivery app in French-speaking Africa, also has strong potential for growth.
Bamba Lô, the young chief executive officer of the Senegalese start-up, took part in the VivaTech trade show three years ago.
‘The scale of the trade show has literally exploded,’ Lô said. ‘The effects have been immediate: I just signed a partnership agreement with the biggest ‘point relais’ in Africa – that’s 1,300 additional distribution points.’
Developing Senegal’s IT sector
Financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands Trust Fund IV (NTF IV) Senegal project supports the development of the information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors.
The project will assist 80 businesses in taking their businesses global.
ITC implements NTF IV Senegal in collaboration with the Senegalese Export Promotion Agency (ASEPEX) and OPTIC, the organization of information technology and communication professionals in Senegal.
NTF IV is designed to encourage the development of a favourable economic environment for Senegalese businesses in the IT and BPO sectors.
Continuing the conversation
Young entrepreneur Oumar Yam of OuiCarry will share his vision for doing business across borders at ITC’s flagship event, the World Export Development Forum, in Lusaka, Zambia, on 11-12 September.
Business leaders, policymakers and trade experts from around the world will gather to network, talk business and do business at the event.
Follow @ITCnews on Twitter for the latest updates and join the conversation using #WEDF18 and #ScaleUp.