Aphrodice Mutangana, a technology enthusiast from Rwanda, has been appointed Deputy CEO and COO for Digital Africa, an initiative launched in 2018 by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The initiative was created with the aim of developing expertise, providing technical assistance, financing projects and enterprises, facilitating market access and creating a regulatory environment that supports African innovation.
Mutangana was prior to his appointment as CEO of Klab, the space of technological innovation in Kigali where he worked for five years.
He will replace Stéphan Eloïse Gras in Digital Africa.
In a global actor, Mutangan’s job will be to lay the foundations for Africa Digital’s activities on the continent, such as building networks and partnerships, and to ensure maximum impact of the programs in which they are involved.
“He will be committed to advancing the mission and ensuring that we achieve our goals and local digital Africa activities. He currently works in Kigali. We want to establish our African presence with local offices and work with existing players. His task will include animating the network of partners, ‘said Gras.
The organization has at its disposal EUR 130 million in funding from the French Development Agency (AFD), which is to provide innovative companies with capital for their development.
Of these 55 million euros to cover the early stages of startups as well as incubators and seed funding, 70 million euros for venture capital and 5 million euros for bridge financing to support startups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gras, an executive director who is currently in Rwanda, said he was mapping and reaching out to potential partners with whom they can work on a variety of goals.
Local partners will be involved in implementing and accelerating initiatives while keeping them up to date.
Opportunities that Rwandan startups may look to in the coming days include scholarship programs for skills and knowledge, opportunities to access capital, and contributing to policy advocacy.
The agency’s work on the continent will also include facilitating access to markets to support start-ups, accessing more opportunities across the continent
For example, three weeks ago, the agency launched a € 5 million bridge fund to provide capital to young, innovative African companies whose growth is threatened by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic (such as canceled or delayed fundraising processes), inviting Rwandans to apply for agency website.
“For us, Rwanda is of particular interest both as a center for financial and technology services and as an investment in supporting technology over the years. We are looking for partners to work with in Rwanda on our various initiatives, ”said Gras.
The agency said it is working to increase the amounts available to digital entrepreneurs, not only French funding, but also global and African funding by working with venture capital communities.
“We will also work with the local ecosystem to support local players in sustainable and political policymaking that fosters sustainable and inclusive digital ecosystems. We will support local players in creating an environment compatible with the needs of the digital ecosystem, ”she said.
Commenting on his new mandate and goals, Mutangana said they will want to build partnerships that can impact the entire continent.
Digital Africa currently engages a range of government and private sector entities, including, but not limited to, Rwanda Finance Limited, the Rwanda Development Board and banks.