Ivory Coast ( Cote d'Ivoire )

Ivory Coast, the second country in the KINGS economies, has mobile penetration of 90 %, with the creative economy beginning to emerge in places like Plateau and Cocody. The government put together a huge investment forum in 2014 as part of its plans to showcase the country and attract investment. A well-patronized event, it resulted in Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners putting together the first national business plan competition, which rewarded 10 start-up businesses with cash investments and the opportunity to engage with investors at the forum as well as develop their businesses.

The African Development Bank has moved its headquarters back to Abidjan after a temporary relocation to Tunisia attributed to the post-election violence. The institution apparently prefers Abidjan for its headquarters despite offers from other countries to host it - a move that provides a significant boost of the city's economy in terms of the financial transactions and the employment and trade activities generated.

SocialSpot is a leading Ivorian start-up focused on providing social services via a Wi-Fi mesh hotspot network in strategic locations in Abidjan and beyond. Its founder, Bacely Yorobi, is a leading light of the next generation of entrepreneurs. La Regionale is another interesting start-up, co-founded by Christophe Kaiser with the mission of delivering premium news content via SMS alerts directly to mobile handsets. Eric Kacou of Entrepeneurial Solutions Partners and Franck Berthod of Focus Group are seen as local champions of the start-up ecosystem in Ivory Coast because of their leadership in the start-up activities in Abidjan. The former organized the national business plan competition, provides consulting to start-ups; the later organized the first Global Entrepreneur Week in 2015, and has recently set up ADN Accelerator in the Plateau business district for tech start-ups. The accelerator plans to start a six-month cohort program in which select entrepreneurs are groomed to create start-ups with funding from a proposed national angel network.

Orange, the leading mobile operator in the country, has set up Orange Fab, an incubator and accelerator for nurturing start-ups that currently serves as the nerve center for the local start-up ecosystem. It houses start-ups such as Sportif 225, an online platform that provides content and events for sports; Syceliman, an IT company specialized in development (web and software), computer systems, and networks; Smartsell, a point-of-sale management system; and ICT4D, an e-agriculture start-up. These start-ups are effectively disrupting existing markets in the local economy.

Seedstars World hosted its first start-up pitch competition in Ivory Coast in August 2015. Of the ten start-ups that pitched, Airshop, a duty-free preordering app, won the prize to represent Ivory Coast at a global pitch competition in Switzerland, proving that though the start-up ecosystem in Ivory Coast is relatively new, it has the potential to produce globally competitive businesses. The government plans to build a technology park along the coast in Grand Bassam, 30 minutes outside Abidjan, as part of a new urbanization plan.

Simplice Anoh's Digital Afrique Telecom is an example of a next-generation business from Ivory Coast. It provides mobile value-added services and has a presence in 27 African countries where agreements have been signed with 40 mobile operators to provide premium-rated short codes for SMS/IVR/USSD services. The company also has a content distribution platform and is able to carry out loyalty or campaign management services on behalf of its numerous clients, which are predominantly in Francophone countries in the West, Central, Eastern, and Southern regions of the continent. The company's current consolidated revenue is about USD3 million from the various countries it operates in.