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Wits-French partnerships strengthened

- Wits University

Commitments focus on innovation and the creative engagement with new technologies.

French Minister, Franck Riester (left) and Wits' incumbent Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi (right).

A French delegation of CEO’s in innovation, technology and health, and the French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Franck Riester, visited the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct this week.

The aim of the visit was to meet business leaders and entrepreneurs from Digital Lab Africa, a joint initiative of the French Institute and the French Embassy in South Africa with Tshimologong, Wits’ flagship digital innovation hub.

 In welcoming Riester and the delegation to Tshimologong, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits’ newly appointed Vice-Chancellor and Principal, praised the close collaboration between South Africa and France, especially in the development of digital skills and innovation.

Vilakazi said Wits is celebrating it centenary in 2022 and part of the University’s vision for the next 10 years is to establish the Tshimologong Precinct as the creative innovation hub in Africa “where we can harness the energy and talent of young people”.

“We do this through partnerships with friendly and leading nations such as France, to ensure that we as a global community are able to solve today’s problems and unique challenges,” Vilakazi said.

Riester said the Digital Lab Africa partnership is but one example of how the two countries can work closely together in innovation and new technologies.

“We are here to deepen our relationship with Africa, and South Africa, in different ways on governmental level and with young entrepreneurs, innovators and creatives. We all win if we invest in young people and their future,” Riester said.

The delegation toured Tshimologong’s different areas of innovation and was introduced to some of the startup entrepreneurs and creatives.

About Digital Lab Africa

Digital Lab Africa (DLA) is the first platform dedicated to creative content (immersive realities, video game, animation, music, digital art) linked with innovation in Africa. The very idea of DLA is to incubate emerging talent by offering them a springboard to fast track their projects development with the support and expertise of DLA creative industries ecosystem in France and in Sub-Saharan African countries.