Digital Lab Africa (DLA) is a springboard and an incubation platform for African creatives in digital content. Initiated by the Embassy of France and French Institute in South Africa (IFAS) in 2016, the programme is managed by the South African innovation hub Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct since 2018. The third edition of DLA will be for the first time a full-fledged program of the Digital Content Hub of Tshimologong which is supported by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
The objective of Digital Lab Africa is to provide a springboard for the creators of next-generation content and to make their project happen with the support of French and Sub-Saharan African leading companies such as Triggerfish Animation, ARTE, TRACE or Lagardère Studios.
Available on Digilabafrica.com from 15 November, the DLA call for projects #3 is open to anyone from the field of digital content creation: artists, producers, designers, startups, SMEs, collectives, students or entrepreneurs. All applicants should either be based in Sub-Saharan Africa or be nationals of a country in this region.
The call targets developing projects in need of partners and financial support. The projects need to be innovative from the perspective of form, storytelling, content and technologies used, in one of the five following categories of multimedia production: web creation, virtual reality, gaming, digital music and animation.
For Lesley Donna Williams, the chief executive of the Tshimologong Precinct, the DLA call for projects #3 ties in with Tshimologong’s vision of ‘Africa Rising’: “The call for a greater volume of authentic African voices in the global digital space is growing and we are well poised with our relationship with the DLA and through our Digital Content Hub to fill that gap with meaningful content.”
“The French Embassy and the French Institute in South Africa are pleased to launch the third call for applications of Digital Lab Africa alongside two new high-quality partners: the Digital Content Hub of Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The ecosystem of Tshimologong associated with the more than 40 French and African key players of the cultural industries partners of DLA offer a very promising and dynamic environment for this third edition” says Christophe Farnaud, Ambassador of France in South Africa.
“DISCOP is committed to empowering young creators and enriching Africa’s multiscreen ecosystems. Our partnership with Digital Lab Africa is a great way for DISCOP to address the numerous gaps across the development of a sound multimedia sector in Africa” adds Patrick Zuchowicki, CEO of DISCOP.
The selected projects are granted with a R42,000 cash prize and a Digital Lab Africa Incubation Pass to accelerate the projects’ development. Each of the projects’ holders are mentored by both French and African experts to benefit from the expertise of several ecosystems. Alongside the mentorship programme, DLA mentees take part in residency programmes within digital clusters and also participate in industry events in France or in Sub-Saharan African region. The expected outcome of Digital Lab Africa programme is market-ready content/productions showcasing African creativity at its best.
During the second edition, DLA received +700 entries from over 30 Sub-Saharan African countries. Since the beginning of the initiative, fifteen projects from Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia have been awarded and incubated by DLA.