Launch of the Senegal’s digital platform for diaspora entrepreneurs


25 entrepreneurs from Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia met in Dakar on Tuesday October, 22nd to work on their strategy of seeking financing from diaspora investors as part of the Investment Academy of the DiafrikInvest project led by ANIMA Investment Network. The day after, they participated in the Dakar Forum for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership (FIELD), organised by CJD Senegal, where they had the opportunity to meet potential partners to develop their business in Senegal. The FIELD was also the occasion for the launch by CJD Senegal, ANIMA and nearly 40 Senegalese partner structures (European Union, DGASE, ADEPME, APIX, among others), of a digital platform to facilitate the attraction of entrepreneurs and investments from the diaspora to Senegal. 


The African continent is a land of opportunities well identified by companies from all over the world. African diasporas, which have networks abroad, and sometimes skills and funds that lack in Africa, are seen as one of the keys to unlocking the continent’s full potential. ANIMA Investment Network, through the implementation of the DiafrikInvest programme in Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia, acts at several levels to build these bridges between the diaspora and countries of origin. 


The week of 23-25 October 2019 was an important step in the life of the DiafrikInvest project in Senegal, which implemented:


  • A start-up accelerator that supports 70 entrepreneurs from the diaspora and the three countries in their access to African markets and their search for financing. As part of the activities of this accelerator, the DiafrikInvest Investment Academy in Dakar was organised on October 22nd 2019. 25 entrepreneurs from Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia participated in this training day on fundraising, and in business meetings organised at the FIELD on 23 October at the King Fahd Palace in Dakar 
  • Strategies and tools to connect African countries and their diaspora. It is within the framework of this component of the project that nearly 40 Senegalese stakeholders have joined forces with CJD Senegal to launch the digital platform to facilitate the diaspora investment in Senegal. This platform was officially launched at the FIELD on 23 October 2019.


This platform is the result of a consultation process initiated in 2016 and to date, led by the CJD Senegal with the support of ANIMA, which made it possible to consult 39 institutional, economic and cooperation organisations during a series of workshops held between 2016 and 2019. These exchanges led to an advocacy carrying several recommendations to promote productive investment by the Senegalese diaspora, including the digital platform


An answer to the financing challenges of entrepreneurs 

Access to finance for start-ups in Africa is limited. This is due to the lack of equity financing, but also to the inability of entrepreneurs to understand investor expectations,” explains Thameur Hemdane, coach of DiafrikInvest entrepreneurs and founder of the Afrikwity platform that allows entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowdfunding.


The DiafrikInvest Investment Academy specifically addresses entrepreneurs’ lack of skills to enhance the value of their start-up, build their financial business plan and know which sources of financing to turn to. “With this project, ANIMA prepares entrepreneurs to raise funds, but also facilitates the meeting between entrepreneurs and investors, and between investors since several meetings will take place in the coming months,” said Léonard Lévêque, DiafrikInvest coordinator at ANIMA Investment Network.


Mobilising diasporas for Africa’s development 

Recent OECD studies estimate the number of migrants from the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries living abroad at nearly 10 million, while a 2009 study by the recruitment agency Republic Talent Agency reveals that 54% of Arab students and senior executives trained abroad (especially in Europe) do not return to their home countries. Similarly, the African diaspora is now considered as “the sixth region of Africa”, due to its demographic, political and economic weight.


The economic development of the Mediterranean and Africa appears to be closely linked to the mobilisation of its diaspora, which has been a target for ANIMA for years through the numerous actions implemented aiming at mobilising economic diasporas in North Africa, West Africa and the Middle East.


To meet these challenges, ANIMA has deployed several initiatives and tools since 2005 with the aim of mobilising diasporas as opinion leaders, business networks, transfer of skills or investments at the service of Mediterranean and African countries development. Among the actions implemented are the diaspora offices that have been set up in Egypt or Jordan; the many roadshows organised to promote investment and business opportunities among the diaspora; mentoring programmes for African entrepreneurs by talented diaspora experts; or business missions organised in Africa involving diapora entrepreneurs.


Fortified by this large experience, we are now working with African governments and institutions to create strategies targeting diaspora talent and investment to ensure sustainable actions for this high-potential population. The platform launched this week in Senegal is perfectly in line with this objective,” says Léonard Lévêque, DiafrikInvest’s coordinator at ANIMA.


Discover the digital platform to facilitate diaspora investment in Senegal.


Download the advocacy document DiafrikInvest “Proposals on the contribution of the Senegalese diaspora to productive investment“.


Download the press release (only available in French).