About Tunisie-Afrique-Export

Three co-founders; Mr. Néjib Ben Miled CEO of the Tunis International Trade Fair Company (SFIT), Mr. Taoufik Mlayah CEO of the Tunisian International Trade Corporation (SCIT) and Mr. Férid Tounsi former CEO of the CEPEX and former Director of the API .

The brains that created the International Exhibition of Information Technologies and Communication SITIC Africa whose fourth edition in Tunis is fast approaching. It is with great willingness that these three men combine their skills and knowledge and serve decision-makers, employers, IT employees in Africa and the rest of the world. They facilitate exchanges between people from the IT sector.

In addition to the SITIC Africa-Canada which will take place from October 14 to 15, 2019 in Montreal, the next edition of SITIC Africa will take place in Tunis from June 19 to 20, 2019, be ready!

Innovations challenges in Africa

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Innovation faces several challenges on the African continent.  According to the World Bank technologies and innovation are currently shaping progress on the continent, yet an age-old question remains: that of the potential for Africa to leapfrog technological advances worldwide and cement its position   as a hotspot for future technological innovation.  Africa is unique in the sense that most of its population access new digital technologies mostly through mobile phones, and this explain the dynamism of emerging eBanking and mobile banking platforms.

Statistics by GSMA reveals that in 2016, 320 million mobiles connections already existed in West Africa alone, and 45 million more are expected to be listed by 2020. In 2010, 1 out of 12 Africans also had access to the Internet. At the time, Africa only had 86 million internet users, and this represented an internet penetration rate of 8%.

According to the report “2018 Global Digital”, published by We Are Social and Hootsuite, the world currently has more than 4.021 billion Internet users out of a global population of 7.593 billion people. Yet Africa is, in 2017, the fastest growing region of the world in term of Internet users’ volume and growth: 435 million users out of a population of 1.272 billion people. The continent has recorded an annual increase of 20%, or 73 million new subscribers. (ECOFIN AGENCY). « However, these successes do overshadow a not so glowing reality.  Several conditions are to be met for Africa to become a beacon of innovation: massive investment in infrastructures are needed, new regulatory frameworks are needed that are friendly to new economic models, and, of course, emphasis is needed on research and development, but also science and technology » asserts Makhtar Diop, a World Bank Vice-President. Mezouaghi, of the French development agency AFD highlight the urgency of technological innovation as follow: “Agriculture is key to economic development in Africa. The most recent technologies ought to be relied upon to achieve food self-sufficiency”. It is therefore essential to rethink   African economies. Innovation may offer avenues for increased socioeconomic growth, provided   cooperation is achieved that create a business environment propitious to development. Let’s discuss this further on the 15th and 16th October of 2018 at the International Forum on African Digital Potential in Montreal.

Innovation

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Innovation is at the core of Canadian approaches to socioeconomic development and Canada’s emphasis on innovation is often highlighted by distinctively consistent financing of Innovation. This includes 700M$ in funds recently earmarked by the Government of Quebec to sustain innovative manufacturing ventures in Quebec, or the 36 M$ fund allocated to the research project on “Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa “(IMCHA) and jointly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Global Affairs Canada, and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The IMCHA project, which the aim is to “improve maternal, newborn, and child health by using primary health care as an entry point to strengthen health systems, ensuring they are more equitable…” displays a feminist approach to innovation and international development   that primarily focuses on women and children issues and concerns as the backbone of north-south cooperative agendas. Legitimate approach that however should   now also consider entrepreneurial and technological innovation as a focus point of international cooperation and development initiatives. Canada’s innovative fiber and legacy is globally celebrated and Africa yearns to tap into this innovative potential by seeking and involving Canadians professionals, entrepreneurs and businesses in local development initiatives. Africa is now the battleground where the global community addresses various issues and challenges, of global relevance, that still interferes with globalised socioeconomic development; and indeed, Africa is where the future of humanity lies. The strategic place of Africa in our global future was in fact the main topic of the Vivatech conference that took place in Paris from May 24 to May 26, 2018. During this event, notable guest speakers, such as, Emmanuel Macron (current French president) and Paul Kagame (current African Union president and Rwanda president) underscored the huge technological and innovative potential of African start-ups; both speakers highlighted the crucial contribution of African start-ups to global technological advancements. President Macron also first revealed a 65M$ investment on African start-ups made by the French government, via the governmental institution Agence Française de Développement. A broad Francophone digital strategy is thus being implemented that puts Africa at the centre of international cooperation initiatives and emphasises technological innovation as the cornerstone of development. Corporations in the North are consequently re-strategizing and redefining their approaches to business in the continent as several axes of commercial cooperation are being organised. Governmental institutions are too following suit, and it is to be noted that Quebec has recently opened a General delegation (the most important office of Québec abroad) in Africa, namely in Dakar, Senegal. Meanwhile, in Africa, processes and initiatives supporting innovation are gearing up, with the recently implemented « Startup Act » that catalyses   Tunisian TICs sectors and the scheduled creation, still in Tunisia, of an African Centre for Digital Technology. An International Trade Fair on ICT also unfolded  in Tunis from April 10 to 12, 2018, with the presence of a significant Canadian delegation composed by entrepreneurs and officials from Quebec and Canada. Africa’s potential is real and certain, despite the continent still facing technological hurdles that constrains the growth of several sectors, such as, the energy sector, education, farming and agriculture, environmental protection and infrastructures, both public and private.   Innovative solutions are thus needed and the continent could learn from Canada’s successful experiences and mishaps.  Let’s discuss this further on the 15th and 16th October of 2018 at the International Forum on African Digital Potential in Montreal.

On International Financial Institutions « IFI »

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The World Bank, the African Bank of Development, and the International Monetary Fund are International Financial Institutions (IFI) whose aim is to finance investment-friendly countries. This way, they contribute to the development of local companies, as well as both private and public infrastructures in each country where it operates. The World Bank thus recently allocated 200M$ to a development project for an off-grid solar system in Africa. This infrastructure project benefits several African countries, including, Mauritania, Chad, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The Senegalese Makhtar Diop is, in fact, the World Bank’s Vice President in charge of Infrastructures, his offices deal with a wide range of issues, from   transportation, the digital economy, the energy and extractive sectors, to financing for infrastructures projects and public-private partnerships. Training and formation are crucial elements of industrialisation processes being implemented in Africa; Quebec, and Canada, have undeniable expertise in these areas, expertise   Africa eventually ought to emulate. Such vision has clearly been highlighted by African decision-makers, at all levels. During a recent Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank emphasis was drawn on the major importance of training as a vehicle for allowing young people to take advantage of the evolution of modern technologies and to prepare for the professions of the future.  Korea announced a $ 5 billion financial package to Africa during these Annual Meetings that will go, inter alia, toward improving youth training and leveraging technology for inclusive growth. African decision-makers, partners and stakeholders are teaming up and collaborating such as to effectively elicit the maturation and growth of ICTs sectors on the continent. Such was, for example, the main topic of the 53rd African Development Bank Annuals Meetings on “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialization.” An interesting approach here discussed posited: “Africa and the 4th Industrial Revolution: Opportunities for leapfrogging?” Indeed, considering that both the willingness to act and the finance to sustain actions are effectives, what is currently urgently needed are support, training and formation for the youth, relevant expertise for enterprises and institutions and, finally, viable projects to be implemented. Let’s discuss this further on the 15th and 16th October of 2018 at the International Forum on African Digital Potential in Montreal.

North-South-South cooperation

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The concept of ‘South-South’ cooperation refers to burgeoning processes of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between developing countries across the world.  Burkina Faso and or Ivory Coast will thus create economic partnerships or enter into trade agreements Tunisia, or Morocco, or China.  South-South cooperation however does not   preclude traditional North-South cooperation.  In fact, a triangular dimension is often added to such initiatives when countries from the North joins the equation and contributes to such   economic and development ventures: thus, the concept of North-South-South cooperation. Anis Jaziri, a co-founder of the Tunisia-Africa Business Council (TABC) asserts, in Le Point, that: “75% of exchanges are with Europe. We must consolidate our relations with our traditional partners (France, Germany, Italy, Spain …), but we must also diversify, find other avenues. The European market has matured for Tunisian companies. The margin of progression is limited, so we need space to breath.” Cooperating   with Canada, in such context, offers timely avenues for diversification, and offers broader space to breath. Agricultural industrialisation is repeatedly singled out by developmental initiatives, but convincingly effective   reforms ought to adopt a holistic approach to infrastructures, frameworks overhaul. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank notes that “The slowdown in Africa’s industrial production is at the heart of   massive youth unemployment. That’s why, only 3 million young people get jobs amongst the 11 million who enter the labor market every year. To create more jobs – I mean high-quality, well-paying jobs – Africa needs to accelerate its industrialization. ” North-South-South cooperation is highly pertinent to the implementation and the success of such industrialization processes.  While Swiss or Germans parliamentarians discuss with those in Burundi or Gabon, the European Investment Bank is increasingly becoming an important development actor in Africa, with 2.2 billion euros spent annually on the Continent. What role can Canadian enterprises and institutions play in the continent? Let’s discuss this further on the 15th and 16th October of 2018 at the International Forum on African Digital Potential in Montreal.