Trade and Industry (dti) Minister Rob Davies said the focus on African innovation at this year’s edition of VivaTech was good for the continent and the country.
The Minister led a delegation of South African companies to the Viva Technology Conference and Exhibition (VivaTech), in France. The exhibition, which started on Thursday, was dedicated to innovation and digital transformation as well as focusing on start-ups.
Davies led the delegation to the Paris conference that comprised for the first time of up to 50 African start-ups from four key sectors gathered in a dedicated zone with local incubators and accelerators.
The dti, through Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA), funded a group of start-ups which exhibited at the VivaTech showcasing their products and services within the ICT space.
Two South African start-ups emerged victors at the summit. The Johannesburg-based artificial intelligence company Vizibiliti Insight won first place in the Verizon Challenge and has been invited to visit Verizon’s headquarters in New York.
Meanwhile, the Cape Town-based, Sun Exchange won the AFD Energy Blockchain Challenge.
Davies’ programme in Paris included bilateral meetings with the Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance Delphine Geny-Stephann, Jean Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State to the Minister of Europe.
At the meeting with Geny-Stephann they agreed that South Africa will host the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) later this year. The last SA-France JEC was held in France last year and it was co-chaired by Minister Davies and his French counterpart.
Davies also addressed the French business confederation Movement of the Enterprises of France International (MEDEF) to promote investments. MEDEF International is the largest organisation of the French private sector at an international level. Invest SA has a cooperation agreement with Business France that is intended to attract and facilitate French investments into South Africa.
Minister Davies mentioned that business confidence and investor sentiment were improving and government was responding to create a dynamic and enabling business environment and a better South Africa for all.
He mentioned that government was initiating measures to set the economy on a new path of growth, employment and transformation. Davies called on French companies to participate in the Youth Employment Service initiative (YES).
“On the 27th March 2018 we launched the Youth Employment Service initiative, also known as the YES initiative. The YES initiative aims to see more than one million youth offered work experience over three years. I would like to urge all companies with a presence in South Africa to get involved in the YES initiative,” he said.
The exhibition concluded on Saturday. – SAnews.gov.za