The project titled “Project for business exchange regarding high economic and environmental impact between the Canary Islands and West Africa“, presented by the Cabildo Insular (Island Council) of Fuerteventura, was selected in the “I Call for Operational Program of Territorial Cooperation INTERREG V-A Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands (MAC) 2014-2020 “as the main beneficiary of the financial contribution of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It has a budget of 529,408.53 Euros, 85% financed by the ERDF.
The Operational Program of Territorial Cooperation Madeira-Azores-Canary Islands (MAC) 2014-2020 is the main instrument for the outermost regions of Spain and Portugal to provide an effective response to the common challenges they face in terms of innovation, competitiveness, internationalization and sustainable development.
The five major areas or thematic objectives of the “I Call for Operational Program of Territorial Cooperation INTERREG V-A Madeira, Azores and Canaries (MAC) 2014-2020” are:
- Point 1: Strengthening research, technological development and innovation.
- Point 2: Improve the competitiveness of companies.
- Point 3: Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management.
- Point 4: Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency.
- Point 5: Improve institutional capacity and efficiency of public administration.
Being Point 2 on “Improving the competitiveness of the companies” the one impelled by this project and with which it is intended to create the conditions for the internationalization of the companies in the Canaries in general and in Fuerteventura in particular. It also includes actions related to improving the competitiveness of companies, namely:
- The promotion of business cooperation for the development and implementation of business models for SMEs in the area of cooperation.
- Legal, technological, commercial and scientific support services for innovation and business internationalization.
The Cooperation Area is composed of Madeira, the Azores and the Canaries, as well as three countries: Cape Verde, Senegal and Mauritania, which due to their geographical proximity have been invited and have accepted to participate in the Program that has allowed the expansion of the natural space for socio-economic and cultural influence.
The project for the business exchange regarding high economic and environmental impact between the Canary Islands and West Africa (AFRIMAC) has as an investment priority in the support to the capacity of SMEs to grow in regional, national and international markets and in the processes of innovation.
Likewise AFRIMAC seeks to promote the internationalization of companies from the cooperation area in the field of high added value.
On the one hand, it is proposed to act in specific sectors of high added value such as water and renewable energies. Thus, actions will be taken to increase knowledge of these sectors and promote business cooperation.
On the other hand, in order to increase trade at international level, it is proposed to put into operation networks based on a technological platform that serves as a meeting point between the needs generated in African countries and the search for suppliers and even financing for the same.
In a transversal way, we intend to improve the competitive potential and the entrepreneurship in the productive fabric of the cooperation area. Thus, actions are promoted to improve human capital and entrepreneurship and a pilot project to empower women in business.
The specific objectives of AFRIMAC are:
- Analysis and identification of business opportunities in the field of water and renewable energy in Africa
- Implementation of international trade missions of a sectorial nature (water and renewable energies)
- Holding of international business meetings in the field of water and renewable energies
- Creation and structuring of working groups for the development of internationalization initiatives through a technological platform
- Dynamization of working groups for the development of internationalization initiatives through a technological platform
- Improvement of human capital and entrepreneurship promotion
- Empowering women in business areas
AFRIMAC is led by the Cabildo Insular (Island Council) of Fuerteventura as the main beneficiary, in collaboration with the following beneficiaries:
- The Official Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation of Fuerteventura
- The Technological Park of Fuerteventura.
Participants from third countries are:
- Ministère des Postes et des Télécommunications de Sénégal (Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications from Senegal)
- Agence pour l’Economie et la Maîtrise de l’Energie de Sénégal (Agency for Economy and Energy Management from Senegal)
- Ministère du Pétrole, de l’Energie et des Mines de Mauritania (Ministry of Petrol, Energy and Mines from Mauritania)
- Agencia para o Desenvolvimento empresarial e Inovação (ADEI) de Cabo Verde (Agency for Business Development and Innovation from Cape Verde)
And the following partners:
- Canarian Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACIISI)
- Casa África Consortium
- General Directorate of Economic Promotion
- Sociedad Canaria de Fomento Económico S.A. (Canary Society of Economic Promotion S.A.)
- Insular Cabildo (Island Council) of La Palma
- University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
“AFRIMAC Tech Woman” is mainly based on a training exchange between female entrepreneurs from Senegal and Fuerteventura for two weeks, in order to encourage the presence of women in technological, economic and entrepreneurship activities, thus promoting a more effective participation of women in future decision-making processes.“AFRIMAC Tech Woman” is an initiative of the Island Council of Fuerteventura, together with the Ministry of Posts and Communications for the Government of Senegal.This initiative is framed within the “Project for business exchange in matters of high economic and environmental impact between the Canary Islands and West Africa – AFRIMAC”, presented by the Island Council of Fuerteventura. It has been selected at the “1st Call for the INTERREG V-A Madeira, Azores and Canaries (MAC) Operative Programme of Territorial Cooperation 2014-2020” as a main beneficiary of the financial contribution from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The entire project has a total budget of EUR 529,408.53, with 85% financed by the ERDF.The Madeira-Azores-Canaries (MAC) Operational Programme of Territorial Cooperation 2014-2020 is the main instrument available to the ultra peripheral regions of Spain and Portugal, in order to offer an effective response to the common challenges they face in matters of innovation, competitiveness, internationalisation and sustainable development.The Cooperation Area is formed by Madeira, the Azores and Canaries, as well as three countries: Cabo Verde, Senegal and Mauritania that, due to their geographical proximity, have been invited and have agreed to participate in the Programme, allowing them to expand the natural area of socio-economic and cultural influence.
The specific objectives of the initiative within AFRIMAC are:
- To improve the human capital and encourage entrepreneurship.To improve the human capital and encourage entrepreneurship.
- To strengthen the presence of women in business and technological fields.
“AFRIMAC Tech Woman” has several well-differentiated strategic lines:
- To improve the competitiveness of female entrepreneurs. Training will be focused around the following points:
- Supporting entrepreneurship through digital strategies.
- Improving ICT qualifications. Through training on technological innovation, digital marketing and on-line tools.
- Social support in empowerment, leadership, social innovation and personal development ◦ Improving languages.
- Improving territorial cooperation and internationalisation.
- Creating a cultural exchange that lasts for years.
This initiative is an essential part of the AFRIMAC project, which, in turn, generates other benefits that indirectly affect the participants forming “AFRIMAC Tech Woman”, allowing them to add more value to the final purpose, if possible.
One of the actions to be developed by the participants is creating a diary of experiences that allows them to learn about the initiative and describe to us first-hand their experiences in another country.
Creation of this Blog, #AfrimacWoman, will allow us to live closely with these young women from Fuerteventura and learn about their experiences whilst staying in Senegal.
Below we show each of the days of the exchange lived in Dakar from September 18 to 29, 2017 described by the participants of Fuerteventura:
- Day 1. Preparations for the trip fulfilled
- Day 2. Second day of work in Senegal
- Day 3. Music was part of today’s working day
- Day 4. Visiting the market of colors
- Day 5. Celebrating Thiaba’s birthday
- Day 6. Enjoying Senegalese hospitality and main touristic points of the country
- Day 7. Such a great experience!
- Day 8. Day of digital entrepreneurship
- Day 9. Visit to the ombudsman
- Day 10. Last day in Senegal, an enriching experience.
- Day 11. Return to Fuerteventura
Below we show each of the days of the exchange lived in Fuerteventura from Monday October 30 until Friday September 10, 2017 described by the participants of Senegal:
- Day 1. Welcome to Fuerteventura
- Day 2. We visited the Consorcio de Abastecimiento de Aguas a Fuerteventura
- Day 3. Looking forward to starting our next day
- Day 4. Learning Business Model Canvas for our projects.
- Day 5. Exposing our business projects.
- Day 6. Day of cultural exchange between Canaries and Senegalese
- Day 7. Visiting Fuerteventura
- Day 8. Africagua Forum
- Day 9. Second day of the Africagua Forum
- Day 10. Technological innovation
- Day 11. Programming and robotics
- Day 12. Goodbye Fuerteventura, nos vemos ¡
Biennial international forum focused on water and renewable energies.
This meeting, which brings together the private and public sector interested in seeking out and developing opportunities in West African countries, will take place in Fuerteventura – Canary Islands.
Africagua is a wonderful opportunity to reinforce the internationalisation of renewable energy and wáter treatment companies that seek to show the great potential in terms of knowledge and experience of West Africa. Likewise, it is an excellent occasion to establish contacts that develop new cooperation projects with other countries.
In previous editions, institutional and business representatives from Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde, Morocco, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Portugal, France, Holland and Norway attended, as well as the World Bank, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), the Brussels Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), the Agency for the Promotion of Universal Access to Services (APAUS), the African Renewable Energy Alliance, and the Infrastructure Project Preparation and Development Unit (PPDU) of the Economic Community of States.
The Intra-Island Council of Fuerteventura, through AFRIMAC, has committed to collaborating in the development of this forum, which has become an effective tool for companies to connect with the African market, contributing towards projecting the Canary Islands as a tri-continental business platform for any business person interested in doing business in the neighbouring continent or seeking trustworthy “partners” to do business for them.
A PLATFORM FOR COOPERATION
AFRIMAC is a territorial cooperation project which unites people and organisations from various countries with different languages and cultures to create and develop initiatives through constant communication.
Based on this initiative, the AFRIMAC platform for cooperation was established:
A complete set of social collaboration, communication and management tools for international work teams, which will be used to perform joint and collaborative management, unifying comprehensive task and Project management through an Intranet – extranet.
The creation of work groups in the different countries that will interact with other groups in different languages (English, French, Portuguese, Spanish) calls for the creation of a series of tools which reflect the goals and work method of the AFRIMAC project work.
The main objectives of the AFRIMAC platform are to set goals, establish work groups, assign roles, organise projects and encourage people to communicate in and out of the work teams.
Communication with Citizens
Citizens are able to meet up, debate, prioritise, plan and carry out successful projects. Uniting civil society, governments and international organisations is the foundation of communication to give citizens a voice.
We need tools that help us to overcome apathy and really bring about change in communities. The AFRIMAC platform has developed a whole series of tools that facilitate real time communication with citizens. From the most popular social networks, connection to web pages, contact forms and the sending of proposals, to a centre to record and process all the initiatives sent via these.
The use of ideas and solutions thought up by citizens increases the satisfaction of the population, civic awareness and the understanding of the projects and planning. Good participative projects consist of a collaboration between the interested parties which benefits them all. How can this be implemented? In áreas where Internet access is poor, but where mobile phones and social networks are experiencing a boom.
In all the projects, the participants must know the reactions, which is part of the collaboration.