The Digital Africa label
Digital Africa is an open and inclusive innovation approach, very much situated in the global commons, which aims to:
- support the African entrepreneurial dynamic,
- boost digital innovation,
- support the emergence of impact entrepreneurs.
The Digital Africa label federates African innovation initiatives and ecosystems, notably giving them access to resources and business opportunities, and putting them in touch with European innovation ecosystems to think about the future together. To implement this approach, Digital Africa will rely on a digital platform that will be launched in autumn 2018. This platform will be a space to allow innovative entrepreneurs in Africa to find the resources and contacts necessary for their development and for the growth of their projects (non-profit and startups) by federating the communities of knowledge and initiatives and by rendering available the shared resources by the partners of the Digital Africa initiative. It aims at becoming a public good, very much in the spirit of the commons, through harnessing innovation and digital actors on the continent.
The Digital Africa association
This approach is driven by the Digital Africa Association, composed of the founding members, which is grounded in the values of collaboration, openness, sharing and social impact. The approach is inclusive and determined by field-based local perspectives.
The Association notably aims to connect all the actors in the digital economy in Africa, to promote all entrepreneurial projects, entrepreneurs and innovative companies. Further, it wants to provide organised resources and capitalise on them, in order to create, manage or govern a base of renewed and continuously enriched commons, in particular through the dissemination of an internet platform and the organisation of events, symposiums and conferences in Africa and in the rest of the world.
The approach of commons
Digital Africa innovates by putting the spirit of the ‘commons’ at the heart of its strategy and its accompaniment of African actors.
A common good is a resource that can be both material and immaterial. To be classified as a ‘common good’, the resource must be used by a community of people that embraces common values and practices. These practices are underpinned by rights and obligations: the community regulates the use of the resource by specific rules, aiming at preventing the exhaustion of the said resource in the event that it is a material one, and/or to enrich this resource with a contribution from everyone, whether it is material or immaterial. Thus, Digital Africa conceptualises its approach as one of innovation, where everyone contributes, and everyone in turn has access to the resultant inputs. In short, people innovating, together, and benefiting together.
AFD is the leading actor behind France’s development policy. It is committed to projects that improve the lives of people in developing countries, emerging countries and French overseas collectivities, in a tangible manner. AFD is active in several areas – energy, health, biodiversity, water, digital, training – it is involved in creating a safer, fairer and more sustainable world: a common world.
An independent non-profit organization, JOKKOLABS is an ecosystem of open innovation and a virtual cluster for social transformation based on an organic community of entrepreneurs and an innovation center network. JOKKOLABS’ vision is to inspire and develop a community of entrepreneurs who will invent the future and achieve shared prosperity.
CFI projects French development assistance policy though the media of the global south, on behalf of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. It supports public and private actors in the media sector to strengthen the modernisation and democratisation processes that France wishes to endorse.
The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) is a year-round platform of programs and initiatives aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem. GEN helps people in 160 countries unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, accelerating innovation and strengthening economic stability around the world.
AfriLabs was founded in 2011 to build a community around rapidly emerging tech hubs―innovation spaces that serve as meeting points and communities for developers, entrepreneurs, and investors. Afrilabs believes that supporting the development of the African technology and innovation ecosystem enables Africa to participate in the global knowledge and innovation market place thereby stimulating economic growth.
The mission of FOPAO is to maintain constant liaison and to organize a permanent framework of cooperation between its members, the board organizations of West Africa.
Africinnov.com is a professional network of organisations supporting startups in Africa. It is known for its media service, an organogram of the continent’s different innovation structures, a directory of various African startups.
Bond’innov is an incubator for projects which support innovation with a high economic and societal impact.
Qwant Academy is a project from Qwant’s ethical search engine. Qwant Academy aims to educate both administrations, companies and individuals about data protection when using the Internet. Qwant Académy’s approach is based on two pillars: the numerical sovereignty of states and the protection of personal data. The African continent represents for Qwant a major axis of development.
La Fabrique connects actors and projects across Africa, capitalising on feedback and errors, in order to create an operational common ‘culture’ of innovation.
The association focuses on two main areas: Creating a community of actors whose desire is to enhance the agricultural sector through research and innovation, while bringing consumers and farmers together through digital technologies.
Created in 2000 by a team of entrepreneurs and experts, Fing is a leading think-tank specialising on digital transformations.
La Paillasse is an open, citizen-based research laboratory that initiates and accelerates scientific, entrepreneurial and artistic projects.