#Africa4Future Europe Closing Programme: Berlin and Paris Air Show

The #Africa4Future start-ups gathered in Europe between June 12-22, 2019, to celebrate the final phase of the #Africa4Future accelerator and to showcase their technologies and recent achievements in Berlin and at the Paris Air Show. It was the fourth time the start-ups got together after meeting for the first time in January as part of the #Africa4Future kick-off workshop in Nairobi and a study tour in March to Toulouse and Berlin, followed by a two week intensive business bootcamp in Cape Town in May this year.

About the programme

#Africa4future is a joint aerospace accelerator, hosted by the GIZ Tech-Entrepreneurship Initiative Make-IT in Africa and the Airbus BizLab to support upcoming entrepreneurs working in the field of unmanned logistics and remote sensing. The programme is implemented by MEST Africa and Innocircle. Ten start-ups from seven African countries have been selected from more than 300 applicants to participate in the six month mentoring and training programme. Their digital solutions tackle challenges ranging from last mile distribution of blood and medical goods to precision agriculture, water and waste management and infrastructure monitoring.

#Africa4Future Start-ups pitch at the German-African Business Day 2019

The #Africa4Future start-ups were given the opportunity to pitch their solutions as part of the German-African Business Day on June 13, 2019. The high-raking forum gathering professionals and policy makers is organized by the Make-IT Alliance member German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft), a foreign trade association representing companies and institutions active in Africa or wanting to become active on the African continent. The event offered an exchange between German and African representatives from both the public and private sector. This years event marked the 85th anniversary of the association and was organized around the theme “Blue Economy for Africa’s Growth”. The 10 #Africa4Future teams pitched their solutions as part of a session titled: “Innovation and Digitalization in the Blue Economy” and demonstrated the relevance of aerospace technologies for the maritime sector including infrastructure monitoring, logistics, energy and sustainable resource management.

Berlin Closing Event at GIZ representation 

In the second part of the day the start-ups and stakeholders from development cooperation, private sector and research gathered at the GIZ representation in Berlin for an evening of networking and exchange around the topic of aerospace technologies and remote sensing for sustainable development. The event was opened by Clemens Kapler on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Jan Schwaab  Head of the GIZ Make-IT in Africa programme. The evening was moderated by Ellen Fischat from Innocircle and featured a fireside chat themed: „Up in the Air – Opportunities and Potential of Aerospace Technologies in Africa” with Pauline Bourg  (Airbus Business Development Africa) and Christian Thiel (German Aerospace Center – DLR). It was the second time the teams gathered in Berlin after a first visit and workshop programme in March. The start-ups were given the opportunity to build on previous connections, make new contacts and present their growth process throughout the six month programme. At the same time the event provided a unique platform for the young innovators to reach out to policy makers and present the potential of African innovation in the aerospace sector and beyond.

Meetup Event at The Family Paris

For the opening of the Paris programme a meet-up event was hosted at the innovation hub “The Family” on June 19, 2019. The event gave attendees the opportunity to directly get in touch with the founders and enter in discussion about the future of aerospace technologies in Africa. Together with the start-ups and attendees Soumeya Rachedi from Digital Africa, Rey Buckmann from Airbus BizLab, Simon  Duchatelet from the World Bank and Matthias Rehfeld on behalf of Make-IT in Africa, discussed the opportunities to support local innovation in Africa through digital technologies.

Pitch Presentations at Paris Air Show

For the final closing the start-ups attended the Paris Air Show 2019 and pitched their businesses at the start-up stage of the Paris Air Lab. The teams presented themselves as part of one of the biggest aerospace fairs in the world and connected directly with experts and clients from the sector.  Airbus CTO Grazia Vittadini gave the opening remarks and handed the certificates of completion to the #AfricaFuture start-ups. The event marked the last time the teams came together as part of the 2019 #Africa4Future joint accelerator. To further work together the start-ups signed a letter of intent to initiate a Pan-African Aerospace Association to lobby for better framework conditions and support for drones in Africa.

If you want to learn more about the #Africa4Future joint accelerator click here.

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