Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa’s digital economy system has still achieved strong growth. With an estimated market size of US$72 billion for digital trade by 2025, the digital economy in Africa is expected to exceed $300 billion by 2025 thanks to massive mobile penetration.
However, many small and medium-sized enterprises in traditional industries in Africa lack the talents and skills of new technologies such as big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, digital payments, etc., which hinders the sustainable development of Africa’s private sector and social sector.
In September 2022, the inauguration of the Center for Innovation and Maritime Excellence (CIME) was hosted in Djibouti in an effort to address such challenges. CIME was supported by China Merchants Group and operated by Diinsider. The President of Djibouti His Excellency Mr. Ismail Omar Guelleh as well as other distinguished guests joined the event.
“Djibouti aspires to become a training centre for the whole world, providing Djibouti and all African youths with good employment and entrepreneurship training opportunities. CIME will help African youths adapt to more diversified needs of digital trade. Djibouti will strongly support the CIME to ensure the successful implementation of this program of providing high-quality training for young people,” remarked President Guelleh.
CIME aims to promote private sector innovations with training and forums that will serve as a platform for sharing ideas, experiences and strengthening the spirit of leadership and entrepreneurship among youth in Djibouti and countries in the region. This program will also fully explore the advantages of Djibouti’s strategic location to attract young, skilled and dynamic profiles from different African countries to promote the social and economic growth of Djibouti and its neighbouring countries.
Followed by the inauguration, CIME conducted a week-long training camp for selected entrepreneurs to get equipped with the necessary entrepreneurial knowledge and exposed to the unique networks Djibouti has to offer through field visits to ports, logistic companies and free trade zones. Before the inauguration, 26 candidates were selected out of the total 271 applicants, whose startups cover a wide range of sustainability business such as digital health, women empowerment, environmental technology, e-commerce, etc.
In the next step, the CIME aims to recruit and select 20 to 30 outstanding representatives from Djibouti and East Africa every year to study, train and practice, and strives to train 150 young leaders or entrepreneurs for Africa within the five years. In the long run, it aspires to provide sustainable and individualised support for entrepreneurs in Africa with the vision to change the continent for better through digital technology.
- 26 candidates from multiple African countries were selected by CIME to participate in the first on-site CIME training in Djibouti.
- The majority of candidates strive to promote sustainability in their home countries/regions through digital technology.
- Several entrepreneurs have already finished their seed series/series preA in their startup companies.
- The best entrepreneurs already have at least 1 million users for their apps.
Centre of Innovation and Maritime Excellence (CIME) is a one-stop agency for leadership and entrepreneurial employment development for youths in Djibouti and Africa. CIME is located in the Djibouti International Exhibition Centre, a new landmark in the Old Port area of Djibouti.
CIME has social, office and incubation functions, and will support young entrepreneurial minds through knowledge sharing, capacity building and competitive funding.CIME has open office space for young entrepreneurs to utilise for free and provides convenient one-stop sharing services. Access to international entrepreneurial experts, innovative working atmosphere and a professional operation team will facilitate the launching of young entrepreneurial initiatives.