Date: 10/27/2016 Description: LIONS@FRICA logo - State Dept Image

African countries are demonstrating a great deal of promise toward a market-led economic system, paving the way for inward investment opportunities and economic growth. Over the past decade, six of the world's ten fastest-growing countries were African. In eight of the past ten years, Africa has grown faster than East Asia, including Japan. As the continent’s population becomes increasingly educated and affluent, the global business community is looking to capitalize on this increase in human and financial resources. There appears to be a “new optimism for future economic prospects for Africa” – and fresh interest in the technology sector.

As the global leader in innovation, the United States brings tremendous credibility and experience to bear on promoting technology entrepreneurship in emerging markets around the world. Africa’s economic emergence and the growing emphasis on technology entrepreneurship have created opportunities for enhanced coordination and collaboration around technology and innovation promotion.

LIONS@FRICA is driven by an ambitious but achievable goal to help 100,000 entrepreneurs launch and expand technology-based businesses by 2020. The partnership is on track to reach this target by promoting the 4Cs of engagement:

  • Capacity: Strengthening the capacity of African startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators to compete in the global marketplace through training, business exchanges, and competitions.
  • Connectivity: Providing a global platform for the most innovative companies from across Africa to showcase their products.
  • Credibility: Launching an awareness-raising campaign to bring credibility to Africa’s emerging innovation and startup ecosystem.
  • Capital: Driving investment from both local and international private capital sources to technology-driven small and growing businesses in agriculture, public health and education, financial services, energy and clean technology, and other sectors.

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One initiative under the umbrella of Lion@frica is the afriCoderDojo initiative to help teach 21st century coding skills to Africa’s youth. The concept is simple: afriCoderDojo teaches young people to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and more while having fun. The partnership is based on the global CoderDojo movement and relies on a volunteer network of implementers and mentors to teach youth the basics of coding anywhere there is a computer and an internet connection.

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