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"Marseille plays an accelerating role in the co-construction of a shared destiny between Europe and Africa"


Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, December 16th 2021 à 15:25 | Read 185 times


The fifth edition of Emerging Valley brought together, on Tuesday 14 December 2021 in Marseille, the European, Mediterranean and African innovation ecosystems. The founder of this event, Samir Abdelkrim, talks to econostrum.info about the evolution over the years of start-ups from the African continent.


The fifth edition of Emerging Valley attracted 30% more start-ups and speakers than the previous year (photo: F.Dubessy)
The fifth edition of Emerging Valley attracted 30% more start-ups and speakers than the previous year (photo: F.Dubessy)
econostrum.info: What lessons do you draw from this fifth edition of Emerging Valley?

Samir Abdelkrim: We were still in a resilient mode, but we are starting to adapt to Covid-19 with the agility that characterises our team. This year, we reduced the number of participants to a maximum of 30% and, despite this, many entrepreneurs came in person and over 2,000 followed the event remotely. Emerging Valley therefore broke a new audience record. Each year we see a strong growth of 30%, in terms of the number of speakers, start-ups, local authorities present and the density of the programme. We welcome foreign delegations and officials such as, this year, Roger Félix Adom, Minister of the Digital Economy, Telecommunications and Innovation of the Ivory Coast, Taleb Ould Sid'Ahmed, Mauritanian Minister of Employment and Vocational Training or Lydie Beassemda, Chadian Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation.

Emerging Valley has become the reference summit for companies and entrepreneurs from Europe and Africa on innovation and tech. We have succeeded in creating a benevolent, forward-looking and entrepreneurial ecosystem. This face of African youth that is not necessarily shown in the media, well, you have it here at Emerging Valley. A confident, conquering, optimistic face that is thirsty for partnerships and investments and wants to work, hand in hand as equals, with the northern shore of the Mediterranean.

​"Opening the EU-Africa Summit dialogue"


What will emerge from all these interventions and exchanges?

S.A.: This edition is placed under the high patronage of the President of the French Republic. Emerging Valley is a highlight a few days before France takes over the EU presidency and a few weeks before the EU-Africa summit. We are therefore going to produce a white paper. Published in February 2022, it will focus our recommendations and open up the dialogue.

A close link with the European Commission, symbolised by the introduction of our debates by Maria Christina Russo, Director of International Cooperation of the European Commission, will allow the agenda to move forward, particularly on the start-up and innovation aspect. Today, we are succeeding in bringing together the European Commission, local authorities, African and French governments, as shown by the speech of Franck Riester, French Minister Delegate to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness.

​"Increasingly structured ecosystems"

Samir Abdelkrim, founder and master of ceremonies of Emerging Valley, has seen the ecosystems become more structured over the years (photo: F.Dubessy)
Samir Abdelkrim, founder and master of ceremonies of Emerging Valley, has seen the ecosystems become more structured over the years (photo: F.Dubessy)

The fact that Emerging Valley is anchored in Marseille is not insignificant?

S.A.: I am very proud that this is happening in Marseille. This city is both the host territory for our event, but also the place where this community of destiny and this co-innovation is embodied. Marseille has the legitimacy to claim a special role in this new Euro-African entity as a bridge and even as an accelerator in the co-construction of a shared destiny between Europe and Africa.

What changes have you observed in the start-ups since the first edition?

S.A.: An impressive maturity, increasingly important fundraising, an international and pan-African vision, a professionalisation of talents, thanks to the return of the diaspora who are entrepreneurs in Africa. The ecosystems are becoming more and more structured. This is why they are arriving in force at our editions to learn but also to propose.
African tech has been turned upside down, and fundraising will probably exceed $4 billion in 2021, whereas a few years ago we weren't even at $500 million. I have seen the first ecosystems being born on the ground, especially since 2013, and I can see a real African tech revolution that is not ready to stop.



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