French tech community launched in Lagos

The budding tech and start-up ecosystem in Lagos is seeing increasing activity and interests, as Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, French minister of state for development, Francophonie and International Partnerships inaugurated the French tech community in Lagos state.

Initially set up in January 2023, the French Tech Community in Lagos gathers start-ups and entrepreneurs which, while based in Nigeria, have a connection to France. It pursues the goal of promoting France & Nigeria as destinations for business and entrepreneurship, aiming to create bridges between the French and Nigerian tech ecosystems.

“I would like to commend the establishment of a French Tech Community in Lagos. Given the potential of the digital industry here, it was essential to create a structure that would make the Nigerian tech ecosystem more visible to French players and highlight the opportunities that this country offers,” Zacharopoulou said.

The Lagos community is part of a network of over 100 French Tech hubs across the world. “Lagos is undoubtedly the heart of African tech and home to the continent’s most promising start-ups,” Zacharopoulou added.

She said this is why French public operators are already involved through initiatives such as Digital Africa which is an initiative of President Emmanuel Macron to support young entrepreneurs in Africa and the iDice programme, which was recently launched by the Nigerian government with a financial contribution of 100 M Euros from AFD.

“We expect French private investors to become even more involved in the near future,” Zacharopoulou said.

As the European Union number one 1 tech hub as regards the total amount of capital raised in the past few years, France is already home to a number of Nigerian startups, such as Gas360, which recently opened an office in Toulouse, or Koolboks, which operates both in Paris and Lagos.

According to the OECD, France is the European country that is most attractive for start-up founders, and it globally ranks 3rd, after Canada and the United States.

France has been the number one investment destination in Europe for the fourth consecutive year. The country is home to close to 150 R&D centres, and French-based startups have raised a total of $13.5 billion in 2022 alone.

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The French minister said a few policies can explain why France can represent an attractive destination for Nigerian start-ups.

“We have created the French Tech Visa, a simplified and accelerated procedure for investors, founders and employees of non-European start-ups wishing to set up in France. Besides, they can request to be personally assisted in this by a dedicated office,” she said.