Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Diafrikinvest – The diaspora investing in Africa

on Friday, October 2nd 2020 à 17:53 | Read 597 times

Over a period of 36 months, 136 Moroccan, Tunisian and Senegalese entrepreneurs have benefitted from the European Diafrikinvest programme. Coordinated by the ANIMA Investment Network, the programme was aimed at mobilizing skills and developing productive investment from within the three countries’ diasporas.

Diafrikinvest communauty gathered at The Camp (Aix-en-Provence) in 2018. (copyright : ANIMA)
Diafrikinvest communauty gathered at The Camp (Aix-en-Provence) in 2018. (copyright : ANIMA)
One hundred and thirty-six entrepreneurs supported, 50 backers found for the projects selected and more than €1M in investment pledges: these are the results of the international acceleration programme set up by Diafrikinvest and coordinated by the ANIMA Investment Network.

The results of this €2.2M programme (90% financed by the European Union) designed to draw on skills and boost productive investment from within the Moroccan, Tunisian and Senegalese diaspora have been positive. In the 36 months that it ran, (December 2016 to October 2020), around 40 operations were completed.

Thanks to its 15 years’ experience overseeing various schemes, ANIMA was able to activate three levers to create a “drive train” running from EU entrepreneurs to their counterparts in North and West Africa.

To begin with, Diafrikinvest identified interested mentors and investors, as well as Moroccan, Tunisian and Senegalese entrepreneurs, selected for their potential and their involvement in sectors that are key for the African Continent, including education, health and greentech. These entrepreneurs with provided with support from ANIMA and its partners StartUp Maroc, CONECT (Tunisia) and CJD Senegal, which included advice, technical assistance, invitations to major business events and master classes in Tunis, Rabat and Dakar by “key talent” from within the diasporas.

New tools for networking with the diaspora

In the next step, the 16 most promising participants followed a 22-hour individual training course with Afrikwity that provided assistance with fund-raising and introduced them to investors and business angels, including from the diasporas.

Lastly, the programme organizers also made contact with the authorities in the three countries, resulting in the creation of new schemes to encourage the return of diaspora talent and diaspora investment in their countries of origin. Thus, Tunisia has set up a digital platform, "Financini", with the local Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations bank, which features financing opportunities. On one of its websites, StartUp Maroc provides a list of Moroccan and diaspora talent able to act as mentors and puts them in touch with local entrepreneurs. With support from the EU and the French Development Agency AFD, Senegal is launching "Entreprendre au Sénégal", a digital, one-stop information counter for diaspora entrepreneurs in Europe who wish to return to their native country.

Thanks to Diafrikinvest, 94% of the entrepreneurs are changing their strategy. One in three has signed one or more partnerships; 23% are increasing their sales and more than 10% have seen a significant rise in their turnover. Fifteen start-ups have been provided with subsidies or unsecured loans from the Caisse Centrale de Garantie Marocaine. 
We have created a real community. It will live on. Diafrikinvest has put in place good practices. We are soon going to announce an expansion of the network to other countries, still with EU support and in partnership with other major institutions,” declared Léonard Lévêque, programme coordinator at the ANIMA Investment Network. 

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