22 On Sloane boss appointed Digital Africa VP
Digital Africa has appointed executive head of 22 On Sloane, Kizito Okechukwu, as its board VP and interim president.
Launched in 2018 by the French Development Agency, Digital Africa’s mission is to promote African innovation and entrepreneurship among tech start-ups. It is a collaborative initiative designed for African entrepreneurs, and has been built through the new Africa-France relationship.
SA-based Okechukwu is co-chairperson of entrepreneurship body Global Entrepreneurship Network Africa and he spearheaded the development of Johannesburg-based 22 On Sloane, which bills itself as Africa’s largest start-up campus.
His previous experience includes heading up guest relations, internal sales and marketing for the Tsogo Sun Group, editor for the African Entrepreneur magazine, head of research at the BAM-SA group, and an associate at the Centre for Creative Leadership.
In his new position, Okechukwu will oversee Digital Africa’s operations and help the organisation further support digital entrepreneurship in Africa.
Commenting on his appointment, he says: “I am greatly humbled and honoured by my appointment as the board VP and interim president of Digital Africa.
“I look forward to leading this great entity with CEO Stephane Eloise and working closely with the continent’s start-up ecosystem towards achieving the African Union Agenda 2063, which aims to eradicate the syndrome of always coming up with new ideas, with no significant achievement for African youth.”
Digital Africa says it focuses on skills development, knowledge communities, contributing to the emergence of a regulatory environment conducive to innovation in Africa, technical assistance, project and business financing (debt and equity), as well as market access for Africa’s high-impact start-ups.
It has presence in various African countries, with headquarters in Paris, France.
Some of its partners and alliances include: AfriLabs, a network organisation of 202 innovation centres across 46 African countries; Digital Observer 4 Africa, a platform to identify digital projects and open datasets in Africa; and Data 4 Digital Africa, an open data infrastructure to enable entrepreneurs to test their models with open source data.
22 On Sloane works with over 100 tech and digital start-ups and various global institutions, including Digital Africa, to offer disruptive start-ups and innovative SMEs funding opportunities, access to markets and commercialisation support.
Digital Africa says it plans to develop a white paper to guide the organisation over the next three years, on how to support Africa’s high-impact start-ups.
Rima Le Coguic, director for Africa at the French Development Agency’s Agence Française de Développement, says Digital Africa aims to continue deepening and expanding its activities across the continent.
"Digital Africa's vision is one of an Africa where the digital transformation enables inclusive development and where technical solutions improve the quality of life, support the real economy and gradually become global references.
“The forthcoming white paper produced in a shared development approach will give us the means to achieve our ambition, which is to identify breakthrough innovations imagined in Africa, and support their scale up."