25 May 2018

Rwanda: Tech Firms Pitch to Global Markets in France

Photo: New Times
Techies meet French president, Emmanuel Macron.

President Paul Kagame ended his two-day working visit to Paris yesterday by attending the Viva Tech Summit, a technology summit which opened in France Thursday, bringing together top global tech firms and startups from across the world.

The summit was opened by French President Emmanuel Macron and attracted thousands of participants from over 100 countries.

Rwanda was represented by eight local tech firms that sought to showcase capabilities and technological competitiveness with an aim to build new partnerships and enter new markets.

The companies included AC Group, Irembo, Awesomity Lab, Zipline, Pivot Access, FabLab, Guez Show and Pascal Technologies.

The firms, which are involved in a range of tech-related operations, are seeking to build partnerships with other players on the international scene and showcase capabilities for new business ventures.

The firms are also seeking to identify and learn international trends on the global tech scene to boost their comparative advantage.

Speaking to The New Times from Paris, Clément Uwajeneza, the chief executive officer of Irembo, said that at the summit, his company is seeking to put the country and continent on the map in regards to tech innovation.

President Kagame meets with Africa CEOs Forum president @AmirBenYahmed on the sidelines of the #VivaTech2018 event. pic.twitter.com/Z2JCb2cf6k

-- Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) May 24, 2018

"First is to be part of the African tech companies showcasing their technology applications with an aim to participating in putting Africa on the world map of tech innovation," he said.

He added that the firm is also keen on showcasing Rwanda's openness for technology and digital transformation.

"We want to convey the message that Rwanda is open for technology and digital transformation by showcasing the success of Irembo at transforming access to public service through tech. We also want to learn about and experience new trends in technology from the likes of Google, Facebook, IBM in different sectors like smart cities, health, smart homes among others," he added.

President Kagame meets with Swedish minister of commerce Hon. @mikaeldamberg on the sidelines of #VivaTech2018. pic.twitter.com/5tKDrrwpwF

-- Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) May 24, 2018

Awesomity Lab, which was this year announced by Volkswagen as the firm picked to develop a mobility solution platform which could change car ownership and use across the world, is also at the summit.

The firm's chief executive, Lionel Mpfizi, told The New Times that from the summit that they have had a chance to test their competitiveness and relevance on a global scale.

He said that at the a global level, they had found that they can be relevant and competitive.

"We're looking forward to meeting other startups from all around the world. We want to learn from them and share ideas. Viva Tech is a great platform for Awesomity to be exposed to other innovative startups," he said.

President Kagame meets with CEOs of Vinci construction & energy on the sidelines of the #VivaTech2018 event. pic.twitter.com/iBbaUn9NhF

-- Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) May 24, 2018

This year, up to 50 African startups are showcasing their solutions and work with global incubators and accelerators.

On Wednesday, President Kagame also met the chief executive officers of around 60 leading global tech companies to discuss nurturing innovation and enterprise in Africa.

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