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S/Africa shines at France’s VivaTech exhibition


South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has said that the focus on African innovation at this year’s just-ended edition of VivaTech Exhibition in Paris was good for the country and the continent.The minister, who led a delegation of South African companies to the Viva Technology Conference and Exhibition (VivaTech) in France, was speaking on Monday following the show’s end at the weekend.

The three-day exhibition was dedicated to innovation and digital transformation as well as focusing on start-ups, Davies said.

South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies

According to Davies, for the first time the Paris gathering comprised 50 African start-ups from four key sectors gathered in a dedicated zone with local incubators and accelerators.

His ministry, through Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme, funded a group of start-ups which exhibited at the VivaTech showcasing their products and services within the ICT space, he added.

Two South African start-ups emerged victors at the summit.

One of them is the Johannesburg-based artificial intelligence company Vizibiliti Insight which took first place in the Verizon Challenge and has been invited to visit Verizon’s US headquarters in New York City in the near future, the minister said.

The Cape Town-based Sun Exchange won the AFD Energy Blockchain Challenge to become the second outfit to shine in the City of Lights.

Apart from attending the summit and exhibit, Davies said his programme in Paris included bilateral meetings with the French Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Delphine Geny-Stephann, and Jean Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State to the Minister of Europe.

At the meeting with Geny-Stephann the two agreed that South Africa will host the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) later this year. The last South Africa-France JEC was held in France last year and it was co-chaired by 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 South Africa has a cooperation agreement with Business France that is intended to attract and facilitate French investments into South Africa.

Davies said 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 called on French companies to participate in the Youth Employment Service initiative (YES), an initiative meant to create one million jobs for South African youth.



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