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Diaspora a springboard for French strategic partnership policy in Africa

The Meet Africa II programme will provide funding for 170 enterprise creation or development projects led by the diaspora of six African countries (photo: Meet Africa II)
The Meet Africa II programme will provide funding for 170 enterprise creation or development projects led by the diaspora of six African countries (photo: Meet Africa II)
Co-financed by the European Union (€5M) and French Development Agency (€3.5M), Meet Africa II is aimed at the diasporas of six African countries* willing to support entrepreneurship in their native countries. Expertise France, the German Agency for International Cooperation and the Anima Investment Network are partnering in this programme, launched on 9th December, 2020, which will rely on the services of existing stakeholders. These are currently being selected and will receive a Meet Africa certification. A website and the Diaspora forum will promote the stakeholders in France and in the six African countries to support 1000 entrepreneurs from the first quarter 2021 until the end of 2023, date of the programme’s conclusion.
Never, prior to Emmanuel Macron, had a French President theorised the role of the diaspora in the partnership with Africa to such a point,” remarks Emmanuel Noutary. For Anima’s general manager, “It was a leitmotif throughout his speech at Ouagadougou on 28th November 2017 and has given rise to concrete actions such as the long-term travel visa, the Presidential Council for Africa or the Meet Africa initiative. Above all, it is a recognition, at the highest state level, of the diaspora’s contribution to France and its partner countries.

France is home to 50% of Europe’s African diaspora

Meet Africa II should provide support to around 150 carriers of projects in start-up or development phase (against 80 in the first phase from June 2016 to October 2018), with selection carried out via a call for applications. In all, 170 will receive funding (the winners of Meet Africa I also qualify). “It’s one of the new things with Meet Africa II. We will provide seed money worth tens of thousands of Euro,” explains Expertise France managing director Jérémie Pellet.

France is home to 50% of Europe’s African diaspora. The programme comes as a complement to the new Bridge Fund by Digital Africa, launched at the beginning of November by Proparco, a subsidiary of the AFD, to assist African young innovating enterprises suffering the economic effects of the Covid-19 crisis. It also supplements Choose Africa, an initiative set up by the AFD Group in 2019 to help entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa (€2.5bn of funding, of which €1bn invested in equity).

The President of the Republic is trying to bring a new narrative of France to Africa, supportive and at the same time more equitable, and above all detached from the weight of history. And that’s what African countries expect today: relations in the form of a partnership founded on shared and clearly understood interests. The African diaspora has all it needs to serve as a bridge between France and the home countries,” notes Emmanuel Noutary.
(* Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Senegal.)

Thursday, December 17th 2020

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