Business: kick off the Central Africa Business Forum in Paris

From June 28 to 29, diplomats, economic experts and business leaders will meet at the headquarters of Business France, in the fourteenth arrondissement of Paris, for presentations, testimonials, sharing experiences, advice and warnings from speakers, to bring together the most promising sectors of activity, forging new alliances for fruitful and lasting partnerships, before establishing itself in the Central African sub-region market.

Faced with such a large crowd at this meeting that was planned to strengthen economic exchanges between French companies and companies in the sub-region, Didier Boulogne, Managing Director Export of Business France, said he was delighted to welcome these many participants until the point that for a day the impression that the action of the Business France office in Douala, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary, had moved to the heart of the French capital.

“European tropism often leads us to consider Africa as a whole… And today we are going to highlight five of them…”, he said.

Therefore, focus to talk about markets: Cameroon came with a strong delegation of twenty mayors and led by its ambassador to France, André Magnus Ekoumou; from Gabon; from Equatorial Guinea; from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with its ambassador, Isabel Machik Ruth Tshombe; and Congo.

From the start, during the first round table “Economic Outlook and Business Environment in Central Africa”Gouënaelle Buffard, Director of Business France Central Africa, explains that Central Africa is an area with significant production potential. Agriculture, for example with a view to diversifying the economy, is central to most of the plans being implemented.

Anthony Nkinzo Kamole, Director General of Anapi, in turn confided that his country, the DRC, is a “look of confidence” from lenders, with credit facilities of $1.2 billion. In addition to over-concentrating its economy on the mining sector, the DRC has implemented an ambitious government energy plan based on a massive hydroelectric power grid. And given the context of the current crisis, this country is diversifying its economy by developing agriculture.

This time by video conference from Kinshasa, for the round table “Tech and digital: the tech boom in a region with developing access and infrastructure”Désiré-Cashmir Kolongele Eberande, Minister of Digital of the DRC, emphasized his government’s ambition to make digital the support of education by developing projects for the development of digital libraries, virtual museums and other content in the field of education.

Speaking to this roundtable, Luc Missidimbazi, adviser, head of the postal, telecommunications and digital division to the Prime Minister of Congo Brazzaville, believes that“systems and data centers need to be adapted to the needs of African countries; this includes real education and data security; it is essential to digitize neatly and intelligently”.

He encouraged large companies to be the first customers of start-ups to take advantage of the know-how of these young people by highlighting the products they offer. Out of this partnership will emerge a service provider-customer relationship with a marketing dynamic that allows donations to take the place of substantial revenue. Hence the existence of an incubator.

In this spirit, Pratic-Osiane participated in the sixth edition of Vivatech with four start-ups that were allowed to show their know-how while making themselves known to the general public and the global tech environment.

Parallel to this approach, in support of the political will, there is now a club for French companies to support Congolese start-ups. The regulations in place, the regained confidence, the existing political will, the financing of the partners pouring in, it is now necessary to develop technology, innovations and to support the public administration by providing them with solutions for modernization through informatics.

Gouënaelle Buffard concluded this morning with roundtables and reminded French companies that it is important to travel, especially in the context of events, to meet local players.

“You have to get there to develop your business, you have to nurture relationships, because partnerships have to develop over time! †

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