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Abidjan and its very own entrepreneurial spirit hosted, early June, the annual Mass for African business leaders, and decision-makers: the Africa CEO Forum, a leading international event on the potential and development challenges facing the continent and its businesses, that brought together more than 2,000 participants, including heads of state and ministers from several countries. 
A message from SouthBridge A&I on The Africa Report. 

Between round tables on green hydrogen and plenary sessions on agrobusiness, inflation or even urbanization boom planning, the ACF was the scene of an exciting investment pitch event (IPE), organized by Investing in Innovation Africa (I3) and its partners.  After a successful first Access to Market event in Lagos in 2022, with over 200 focused demand-driven partnerships held, I3 has set its sights on Ivory Coast to organize its second event hosted by Southbridge A&I.

The IPE highlighted 8 of the 31 promising African-led health tech startups (including 3 women-led) from I3’s first cohort, in front of an audience of 20 entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts, such as DFC, IFC – International Finance CorporationAfrica50 Infrastructure Investment PlatformNovartisRoche, and AXA Assurance Maroc, among others, who were eager to witness the future of healthcare on the African continent.

Sponsored by a consortium of donors (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and Industry Leaders (MSD, AmerisourceBergen, Chemonics and Microsoft), I3 is a unique pan-African initiative to boost the commercialization and impact of health supply chain start-ups in Africa. Over two years, 60 highly promising early-stage and/or growth stage companies will receive support through grants, access to markets and investment readiness.

“We are such a diverse and broad team to make I3 live, indeed I3 is designed implemented by Southbridge, SCIDaR and Salient Advisory and we also work with 4 accelerators across the continent, Villgro Africa for East Africa, Impact lab for North African and francophone speaking countries, Startup Bootcamp for Southern Africa, and CC hub for West Africa. They have been chosen to provide tailored support to the startups and prepare them to event like this pitch investment session” recalled Kenza Serghini, consultant at Southbridge A&I who moderated the IPE.

The program mainly focuses on introducing these young innovators to leading figures in industry and government and ensuring that the startups can secure follow on fundings. This way, the Investment Pitch Event provided a platform to showcase the transformative potential of these 8 healthcare technology start-ups from across Africa – with a gender lens to support women-led innovators -, and the potential they have on a continental scale to address the lack of access to healthcare services and supply chains for medical products.

Among them, the Zimbabwean startup VaxiGlobal uses contactless biometrics to ensure marginalized communities, with limited proofs of identity (e.g., migrants), can access and verify delivery of vaccines. Appy, an Angolan company, aggregates stock information of pharmacies and allows users to conveniently find and purchase, at affordable prices, pharmaceutical products online and receive deliveries at home. In Morocco, Sobrus leverages cloud-based solutions to connect pharmacies to wholesalers and laboratories through a digital marketplace as well as enable wholesalers and distributors to receive, track and manage orders from pharmacies, even in the most isolated parts of the country.

The lack of reliable cold storage and inefficient cold chain management in Sub-Saharan Africa has prompted the Nigerian startup Figorr (formerly Gricd) to offer cold chain solutions that help businesses track and monitor the location and storage conditions of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products, in real time.

Each one of the I3 startups, from 14 different countries, has a unique vision and approach to tackling the healthcare challenges facing the continent and to conquer an African health sovereignty. Above all, they intend to prove that Big Data, algorithms, artificial intelligence and even blockchain can provide people with new individualized, personalized, and preventive medical solutions.

It should be noted almost half of the first cohort secured additional funding in the past year, and have raised 5.4 million USD in grants, equity, and debt, on top of the original 50k$ grant provided by the program. Today, their innovations deliver health products to 25.000 clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and 2.4 million Africans. 

Marked by insightful discussions, networking for potential partnerships and conversations towards practical solutions, the IPE (included in the ACF’s official agenda) above all recalled a crucial point: the more initiatives of this kind fostering an entire collaborative ecosystem, the more we’ll see successful solutions emerging for the health of African populations.

To learn more : https://innovationsinafrica.com/


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