The X-Afrique 2018 forum, which corresponds to the third edition of this event started in 2016, took place on March 10, 2018 on the campus of Ecole Polytechnique. It is organized by the association X-Afrique which gathers Polytechnique students attracted by Africa and ready to engage in events promoting it.
This year, the theme of the forum was New Technologies for Africa. Many actors of African entrepreneurship were at the rendezvous. We had the honor of having Attijari Wafa Bank Co-CEO Ismail DOUIRI at the closing conference to talk about the banking in Africa through New Technologies.
At the end of the day, we recorded nearly 700 visitors for this third edition.
Back to this day that celebrated African entrepreneurship in all its forms.
This year’s forum started in the morning
Early in the morning, around 9am on Saturday, March 10, we could see the entire team of X-Africa (25 strong) running everywhere, busy setting up the various structures. More than an hour later, everything was in place: the Forum can then begin.
The Grand Hall of the Ecole Polytechnique began to fill up little by little: you could see the different start-ups exhibitors take place at the dedicated location and the partners of the forum. Visitors were able to talk to the exhibiting start-ups and some members of X-Africa about a breakfast.
11:30AM. The third edition of the X-Africa Forum is launched. It begins with the first roundtable on the theme Entrepreneurship in Africa: guaranteed opportunities or disillusions? It was to address the subject of entrepreneurship on important plans such as disruption, innovation, investment, survival of a start-up in Africa. The aim was that at the end of the roundtable, participants could know what to expect when starting a start-up with the different stages: from the project in its raw state to obtaining an investment. We have seen that it is one of the brakes on the development of start-ups in Africa. There were like speakers:
Valérie-Noëlle Kodjo Diop: Head of Innovation and Alternative Banking Models for the Africa region of Societe Generale
Thameur Hamdane: CEO Afrikwity & Cofundy
Christian Kamayou: founder of MyAfrican Startup
Thameur Hemdane gave advice on how to sell his project. Valérie-Noëlle Kodjo-Diop told us about the relationship between banks and start-ups and Societe Generale’s position in the African start-up environment. As for Christian Kamayou, he gave us his point of view as an entrepreneur and told us about his ranking of start-ups including how it is developed.
In conclusion, Africa has the advantage of not going down the same path as its predecessors, of being a pioneer and deciding its future by taking into account local realities.
The X-Africa start-ups contest, the big attraction of the day
The startup competition brought together all the startups present to pitch their project and convince the jury of the importance of their objectives.
It was organized as 3-3-3: 3 min of pitch, 3 slides, 3min questions answer. An audience of over 300 people attended the competition. The jury was composed of 5 members:
Africa Young Entrepreneur
There was good interaction on both sides of both the audience and the jury. The present startups covered mainly the fields of agriculture, education, health, technology and energy.
Finally, the first prize went to ChalkBoard Education startup on mobile education.
The first three startups were rewarded and the winner won:
A sum of 1500 euros from X-Africa
Media coverage by Africa Jeune Entrepreneur
The competition was the highlight of the day, with its dynamism and extraordinary pitch!
Space for Energy at the 2018 X-Africa Forum
We were fortunate to have four experts from the energy sector in Africa, with different profiles during this 3rd edition. Energy represents a very specific sector whose stakes are linked to those of the development of the continent of which it is an engine of growth. At the same time, it raises very specific issues that have deserved attention. For example, the political dimension was addressed, firstly by the direct involvement of governments in the production and distribution of electricity and, secondly, by the impact on people’s lives. It was therefore very interesting to have both a representative of the AfDB working directly with the states, and the Africa director of large private groups such as ENGIE and EDF who were able to share their experiences on projects in collaboration with the government. . Another problem that has led to an exciting exchange is the environmental and climatic dimension. Once again, it was very interesting to cross the lines of view, and to consider the use of green energies not as a constraint but as an opportunity to achieve a competitive energy efficiency that can be much more interesting.
As speakers at this second round table, whose theme was
Why and how should Africa design its own energy transition? , there was :
Valérie Levkov, EDF Africa and Middle East
Ousseynou Nakoulima, African Development Bank
Bruno Bensasson, Engie Africa
Henri Boyé, Former Consulate EDF Africa
The ensuing closing conference was moderated by Ismail Douiri Co-CEO of AttijariWafa Bank. There was talk of banking in Africa, the role of startups and the relationship between banks and startups in Africa.
Ismail Douiri charmed by his calmness and relevance. It was a beautiful closing conference with a good speaker who meticulously covered his subject.