Aix-Marseille hosts the first event labelled “Digital Africa” with EMERGING Valley

As part of the 2018 edition of VivaTech, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of Digital Africa, a programme for African start-ups which aims to maintain the entrepreneurial momentum in Africa, to support the emergence of entrepreneurs with social impact and to encourage digital innovation through a label of the same name. EMERGING Valley, which will take place on the 19th, 20th and 21st November at Palais du Pharo (Marseille) and at thecamp (Aix-en-Provence), is the first event to be officially labelled Digital Africa.

EMERGING Valley, first event labelled by the presidential initiative Digital Africa

This November, the second edition of EMERGING Valley will be held an entrepreneurial summit on African entrepreneurship and innovation, founded in 2017 by Samir Abdelkrim and co-produced by the companies StartupBRICS and MCO Congrès. The goal of this event is to radiate the Aix-Marseille region in Africa and in emerging countries as a new business and start-ups hub between Europe and Africa and to attract new businesses with high-growth potential. To support this trend, the French Development Agency (Agence française de développement, AFD), leading the structure Digital Africa, has decided in the context of VivaTech to label EMERGING Valley, turning Aix-Marseille into the first region to host an event labelled “Digital Africa”.

The introduction of the EMERGING Valley event to the VivaTech participants took place on May 24th on the stand of the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropole in presence of elected officials (Mr. Didier Parakian, Vice-President of the Aix-Marseille-Provence metropole in charge of the innovation, Mr. Jean-Luc Chauvin, President of CCIMP and M. Daniel Sperling, assistant to the mayor of Marseille, delegate to the digital innovation) and of innovation players from the region like thecamp and Innov’In Med.

The label creation of EMERGING Valley took place on May 25th in front of the press accredited at VivaTech, in presence of Mr. Karim Sy, member of the Presidential Council for Africa of Emmanuel Macron, of Mrs. Rima Le Coguic, digital director at the AFD, and of Mr. Samir Abdelkrim, founder of EMERGING Valley and author of the book Startup Lions.

“The region and especially Aix-Marseille have all kinds of legitimacy – historical, geographical, cultural, human – to become the preferred African gateway to Europe, and vice versa. It’s also the only French region claiming this position with Africa on the digital challenges, and it wants to assert itself as a magnet for the companies in the world willing to enter the African market from Marseille. Now, there is a real opportunity to emerge as a double gateway Europe-Africa, and Marseille can naturally claim it. EMERGING Valley is part of the ambition” states Samir Abdelkrim, Founder of EMERGING Valley and StartupBRICS during the press conference.

To gather in Provence the champions of African innovation

50 international Speakers coming from about twenty countries will gather at Palais du Paro on November 19th and 20th and at the camp on November 21st 2018. The French Minister of the Digital Sector, Mounir Mahjoubi, has already confirmed his presence at EMERGING Valley.

The participants will come to find investors but also to develop partnerships and businesses between Provence and African countries around several cross-cutting thematic issues like in e-health, in partnership with the fair Innov’In Med. Other cross-cutting issues will be tackled during EMERGING Valley like the social impact, the smart areas, Fintech, diaspora or even access to financing.

More than 60 start-ups and African project holders will come as well to EMERGING Valley to be speeded up during the workshop Social Business & Inclusive Camp, the result of a partnership between EMERGING Valley and the French Development Agency in the context of the “Digital Africa” labelling.

A previous edition which gathered the digital ecosystem from Aix-Marseille around Africa

The 2017 EMERGING Valley edition which was held on December 5th, in Marseille and on December 6th at the Camp, already gathered 20 African start-ups promoting technology applications with a real replicability potential in Europe and in the Mediterranean. Intouch, Jumia, Karangue, Klab, MedTrucks, CDIC, Wutiko and many others were among the African startups attending EMERGING Valley.

During this first edition, incubators and innovation areas from the Aix-Marseille region presented their support services to African companies willing to develop their activities on the European continent, like thecamp, Marseille Innovation, PFactory, la Coque or even Le Carburateur.

This first EMERGING Valley edition had thus been supported by Mrs. Martine Vassal, President of the Bouches-du-Rhône Department and 1st Vice-President of the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropole, and by Mr. Jean-Claude Gaudin, President of the Metropol, and Mayor of Marseille.

Alongside the Department, the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropole and the City of Marseille, considerable supports also include Euroméditerranée, the CCIMP and the World Bank.

At the Mediterranean crossroad to Africa, the Aix-Marseille region is intended to increase exchange between the African start-ups and the local innovation networks like the AfricaLink network supported by the CCIMP, ANIMA, Investement Network, PFactory or even the network French Tech Aix-Marseille, which are all partners of the event EMERGING Valley 2018.

About StartupBRICS, founded in 2013, is the first French-speaking platform which is 100% devoted to news related to Tech, Innovation & Startups from BRICS and emerging countries, and their networking. Startup BRICS aims to provide French and French-speaking economic decision-makers with news, insight and analyses about the digital potential of the future economic champions. StartupBRICS is also a consulting firm, with field presence in southern countries. It seeks to identify opportunities, initiatives and to collect creative stories every day to enable communication on these projects through the website. StartupBRICS serves as a media intermediary for the innovative initiatives of southern countries. StartupBRICS is set up for the purpose of studying, understanding and promoting innovation in emerging countries, notably that bringing solutions and changing the daily life of people. Website:

About MCO Congrès

MCO Congrès is a Professional Agency for the Organisation of Congresses (Agence Professionnelle d’Organisation de Congrès, PCO) whose mission is to show solidarity with associations, learned societies, trading companies or professional corporations in the organisation of their events. MCO Congrès is a natural partner of all the innovation players and positions itself in real supporting and consulting. The MCO Agency, headquartered in Marseille, was created in 1989 by Marc Crousillat and Dario Mougel. Today, it has more than 30 employees. Every year, about sixty events are organised, gathering between 50 to 6,000 people. MCO Congrès is certified IAPCO. It is a member of ICCA, of Bureau des Congrès de Marseille and of Provence Côte d’Azur Events. Website:

About AFD, carrier of the Digital Africa label

A public and supporting financial instiution, AFD is the main player of the French development policy. We commit to projects which improve in practice the daily life of people, in our Overseas Territories as well as in developing and emerging countries, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the priorities of external activities of France. Present in 109 countries through a network of 85 agencies, we are now supporting more than 3,500 development projects.

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