Read the full post of Balancing-Act Africa HERE.

« Digital Lab Africa aims to breed new African TV content designed to work in a digital world

The Digital Lab Africa competition is an excellent initiative to encourage African talent for the new digital era, Balancing Act’s Sylvain Belêtre interviewed the initiator of the Digital Lab Africa (DLA), Frédéric Chambon, Audiovisual Attaché of the French Institute of South Africa under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France.

The Digital Lab Africa was launched at the second edition DISCOP in Abidjan. In his launch speech, Frédéric Chambon, Regional Head of Media, Film & Music at the French Embassy in South Africa, and producer of DLA said:” “DLA is a platform dedicated to the African digital content of tomorrow. In the age of digital convergence, TV, film, music and video game content in Africa is increasingly consumed on internet and mobile phones, like everywhere else.” Also present at the launch was M. Maurice Bandama, Minister of Culture and Francophonie of Côte d’Ivoire. The project focused around multimedia innovation and is calling for entries.

The jury will select 4 DLA African talents who will win a 3000 euros each, or about 2 million FCFA. But they also receive other support: »DLA is mainly office incubator, exchange platform and sharing of expertise is its real value » said  Chambon. In 2017, selected will receive all expenses paid trips to France – in Paris and in major provincial cities – for a few weeks visiting French tech companies. According to DLA, the scheme will also include a search for investors.

DLA will help African talent access the resources of European countries. This creates new potential growth:”If it works, DLA is an MBA in an international business school, and plus it’s tailor-made! « Confided an Ivorian artist  I spoke to at Discop Abidjan.

DLA is a talent incubator. Because « the primary objective is to offer a platform multimedia productions designers to the continent by allowing projects to emerge and become sustainable, with the support of French partners referents. The purpose of this action is to engage in dialogue and to give French know-how to African talent  » said Frederic Chambon.

The competition to select winners has four categories: web design / transmedia / television and audiovisual, digital music, video games and virtual reality. The deadline for submission of applications is 31 August 2016.

« The next Discop Africa Johannesburg, which will be held from 2 to 4 November 2016, selected candidates will participate in a pitch competition. The second day, we will launch four round tables corresponding to the 4 categories with 3 participants per session: 2 sessions in the morning, 2 in the afternoon. We are currently looking for good players in these 4 segments Then we will announce the four winners, « says Chambon, adding, » we received fifty records with good parity Anglophone / Francophone countries, and among them, we have identified some very interesting ideas in each category, « a sign that experience could be repeated in 2017 in order not to let other promising talents without substantial resources.

The Digital Lab Africa is an initiative of the Embassy of France and the French Institute of South Africa, which forms part of their support for cultural and creative industries. The project partners are numerous. Among them, there are Lagardère Studio (one of the production leaders in Europe and Africa) and Arte, the largest chain of French-German cultural TV and Trace and Basic Lead, organizers of Discop markets. »