Discover the first speakers and themes of the 5th edition of EMERGING Valley

A major annual event for Afro-European Tech players, the EMERGING Valley International Summit will be held phygitally on December 14, at the Palais du Pharo in Marseille, with over 200 speakers and 2,500 digital and face-to-face participants expected. The event is open and free of charge to everyone, just sign up on the official website. 


EMERGING Valley is delighted to unveil the first international experts who will be participating in its major debates.


Here are the first confirmed speakers: 


·         Minister Taleb OULD SID’AHMED, Minister of Employment and Professional Integration of Mauritania,

·         Mrs Aurelie Ilimatou ADAM SOULE, Minister of Numeric and Digitalisation of Benin

·         Mr. Grégory CLEMENTE, Managing Director of PROPARCO (France),

Mr. Satoshi SHINADA, General Partner of Kepple Africa (Japan),

·         Mrs Asma BOUZAIDI, Senior Investment Associate, Flat6Labs (Tunisia),

·         Madame Isabelle BEBEAR, Director of International and European Affairs of BPI France (France),

·         Mr. Pawel HANSDORFER, Africa Director of the ASSECO Group (Poland),

·         Mr. Adly Thoma, CEO of Gemini Africa (Egypt),

·         Mrs Marem DIENG, Lead, Global Innovation & Strategy of SOO Global (United States),

·         Ms. Marieme KANE, Director of Innovation at the Ministry of Digital Transition, Innovation and Modernisation of the Administration (Mauritania),

·         Mrs Prudence OGATCHA, COO of Globbr (Nigeria),

·         Mr. Arthur THUET, Co-Founder of Saviu Venture (France),

·         Mr. Jérémy HAJDENBERG, co-Managing Director of I&P-Investisseurs et Partenaires (France),

·         Mr. Pablo RUIZ MUZQUIS, Entrepreneur & co-initiator of the “Frena La Curva” citizen movement (Spain),

·         Mrs Aissatou DJIBA DIALLO, Fintech Relations Director of Ecobank (Senegal),

·         Madame Zeineb MESSAOUD, Executive Director of The Dot (Tunisia),

·         Mrs Karima EL HAKIM, Ecosystem & Venture Builder from Fawry (Egypt),

·         Mr. Bamba LO, Founder of Paps (Senegal),

·         Mr. Omar CISSE, CEO of Intouch SA (Senegal),

·         Mr. Driss JABAR, CEO of Cloudfret (Morocco),

·         Mr. Yvon KOUDAM, CEO & co-Founder of Kondjig Bale (Togo).


This list of speakers (and their biographies) will be regularly updated over the next few weeks on the EMERGING Valley website.


Many startups from Africa and the Aix-Marseille Provence area will also be participating.

Founder of EMERGING Valley, Samir ABDELKRIM says: “I am honoured to welcome to some of the greatest professionals and experts in African innovation from all over Africa to Aix-Marseille-Provence, as well as those from the United States, Japan, and of course Europe. Their involvement shows the shared desire to definitively recognise Africa as a global digital hub and to make it a source of inspiration for the whole world.” 


For this 5th edition, EMERGING Valley is celebrating 6 key themes that illustrate the heart of positive African innovation: biodiversity, female entrepreneurship, creative and cultural industries, e-health, funding innovation and sustainable cities.


Biodiversity 2.0: African Tech aiming to benefit life on earth

As one of the iconic founding topics of the summit, biodiversity 2.0 is back for this 5th edition, with the historic support of the Departmental Council of the Bouches du Rhône. Following on from the World Conservation Congress, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and on the eve of the fateful deadline of 2030, we will be looking at the question of presenting technological initiatives to benefit nature.

“Preserving oceans, conservation, data collection and identifying protected areas will be central, the rising use of drones and aerial surveillance, artificial intelligence, modelling and mobile monitoring applications. At this time when Provence, the Mediterranean and Africa are facing ever-increasing threats, technology must be used to better understand the environments around us and protect them. We need to come up with regenerative solutions that will protect future generations,” adds Samir ABDELKRIM.


Sustainable Cities

How can African Tech be used to help urban planners build the city of tomorrow? Sustainable and connected cities will be one of the central topics at the EMERGING Valley 2021 Summit.

In a context marked by the wide spread of the informal economy, the debate will look at new urban innovations providing essential services to the populations of large African cities, in a more inclusive and affordable manner.

Samir ABDELKRIM goes on: “This is why new initiatives like Med’Innovant Africa – that strengthen and support scaling up SmartCity entrepreneurs – exist. In Africa, digital innovations have already shown their ability to disrupt entire sectors of the economy, and provide solutions directly to citizens where pre-existing structures no longer work. Come find out about people who are shaping the sustainable city of tomorrow during a plenary session, a digital workshop or a fireside chat organised in partnership with the Euroméditerranée public institution.” 


Female entrepreneurship

As one of EMERGING Valley’s most important areas of intervention, female entrepreneurship is the new engine of the digital revolution in Africa and the Mediterranean. With over 600 million female entrepreneurs, Africa has shown itself to be a continent brimming with high-impact entrepreneurs and has the highest rate of female entrepreneurs in the world.

Despite many studies showing that women have a better rate of return on investment and better operational efficiency at the head of their companies, they can still have a tough time breaking down the barriers and frequently encounter issues of fundraising, getting loads from banks, cultural issues, etc.

Samir ABDELKRIM has this to say about his commitment to female entrepreneurship in Africa: “EMERGING Valley advocates to encourage and enhance entrepreneurship and female leadership in Africa and the Mediterranean. My goal is to speed up the development of this new generation of female entrepreneurs who work tirelessly to help transform the continent positively with their societal impacts on the ground.” 


African creative and cultural industries

“African Creative and Cultural Industries were shown to be a key aspect of the last summit, and now the time has come for digital acceleration to go beyond borders” states Samir ABDELKRIM.

Digital technologies (immersive technologies, big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, 3D printing, etc.) have high-level impact that is still too little known and underestimated regarding the processes of creation, production, distribution and the relationship with African audiences, but also a special thanks must go to the diasporas. If in some cultural sectors, the relationship to technology is inherent in production (e.g., cinema, video games), in others, digital technologies arise as answers to issues of performance, accessibility and diversification.

All of this contributes to the emergence of a new cultural economy for the 21st century: an overview of these new forms of culture and creation everywhere from Marseille to Lagos and Cairo.


Funding: from Dakar to Lagos, are we now in the time of Unicorn Factories?

Samir ABDELKRIM goes on: “Even though 2020 was difficult for African start-ups, the continent has successfully faced down every prediction with 44% more deals being signed than in 2019. This exemplifies the extraordinary level of resilience that highlights the strength and bewildering growth potential of the continent’s gem companies. September 2021 confirmed this trend with the arrival of the very first unicorn in French-speaking Africa: the fintech Wave.” 

Wave joins the renowned club that brings together seven unicorns in Africa, all of which are either Nigerian or Egyptian. These success stories pave the way for others to follow in their footsteps, and once again remind us of the importance of supporting fledgling companies that have very high potential. Structuring ecosystems, early-stage development, impact financing and new forms of credit: these are all relevant questions for Africa to become the next unicorn factory.


African e-Health

African e-Health – which experienced unprecedented acceleration during the Covid-19 pandemic – and its innovators will be in the spotlight at the 5th edition of EMERGING Valley. The global pandemic has created a new generation of high-impact entrepreneurs who innovate to save lives. From scientific research to dematerialising medical records via democratising teleconsultations in the most remote African rural areas. It is more than fair to say that African healthtech is on the rise.

This proves beyond all doubt the widespread and lasting enthusiasm for digital health solutions that Africa is producing as fundraising by African healthtech startups reached unparalleled levels in 2020 and 2021.

“How can Europe draw inspiration from the agility of new African e-health solutions when COVID-19 has shown us all of the chinks in the armour of Western healthcare systems when dealing with epidemics? In partnership with the Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolis, this topic will be looked at under the microscope at this 5th edition of EMERGING Valley”.