"Dare Africa!" Franck Riester's message to French entrepreneurs

On February 9, 25 French companies joined the first promotion of the Africa Accelerator to boost their business development on the African continent.

Doing business on the African continent is to evolve on the largest free trade zone in the world. Benefiting from the continuous growth of nearly 4%, the African continent represents a major growth relay for French SMEs and ETIs. 
An Eldorado that for many entrepreneurs seems inaccessible, but which is nevertheless at the heart of the new program launched by Bpifrance and Business France: the Africa Accelerator. 

On this occasion, Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, looks back on the many opportunities that this continent offers to French entrepreneurs.  


Why Africa?

Franck Riester: In 2017, the President of the Republic made the African continent a top priority for our economic diplomacy. This is a project that I carry out on a daily basis, in conjunction with Bpifrance, Business France, and the entire Team France Export, with a particular focus on SMEs. I have been able to verify this during my exchanges and during my travels, with the President of Kenya, the Senegalese authorities, in Morocco and South Africa: demand from France is strong, including in areas where our companies are traditionally less present. A quarter of humanity will live in Africa by 2050. The needs there are enormous, particularly in the areas of sustainable cities, food processing, and digital technology, where our companies are able to provide long-term solutions with high local added value.


Why is it essential for a company to continue exporting despite the current crisis?

F.R.: Our companies need growth relays. Exporting is an opportunity for them. After a sharp slump, we managed to initiate a powerful export recovery in the second half of 2020, which enabled us to return to 92% of the historical 2019 level in December 2020. The massive support measures that we have been deploying since the spring have enabled us to preserve our fundamentals. Our companies must now take advantage of this momentum to get back to full speed. This is the purpose of the customized support measures and sector watch that we are making available to our exporting SMEs and TWAs as part of the export component of France Revival,  with Team France Export and the Regions. Market shares are now being gained. Now is the time to make the difference.


What are the key messages you want to convey to companies that want to develop on the African continent?

F.R.: A simple message, which can be summed up in two words: dare Africa! The continent is in full mutation, it is now that we must position ourselves. Choosing Africa is a strategy that pays off and we have decided to accompany our SMEs and ETIs at every step. First of all, upstream: the Africa Accelerator that Bpifrance is launching in partnership with Business France will enable us to target the right markets. Downstream, we are at your side to ensure the follow-up of contracts. As part of the export component of France Revival, we offer renewed financing solutions such as the FASEP, the export reminder check, and the insurance prospecting support. We, therefore, mobilize the whole range of public tools to help you project yourself internationally, especially in Africa.