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Sèmè city accelerating search for Anglophone Partners to develop new education, research, entrepreneurship projects

by Goddie Ofose
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  • Search for International Partners to Enhance the Employability of Young People in Benin and on the Continent

The Sèmè City Development Agency (Sèmè City), a flagship project of the Government of Benin’s action plan, announced today that it is scaling up its strategic efforts to improve the training and professional integration of youth with a particular focus on Anglophone partners. Potential partners are invited to submit partnership and co-creation proposals covering projects in the areas of training, research, and entrepreneurship by October 31, 2022. This call for proposals is in line with Sèmè City’s commitment to fostering innovation made in Africa to create jobs and wealth in West Africa.

The focus on Anglophone partnerships follows the success of the initial launch in June 2022 of the call for projects targeting mainly Francophone partners.  During this first phase, 11 partnership agreements were signed with French academic institutions and companies in the presence of President Macron in Sèmè City.  These partnership agreements cover the implementation of several quality training and professional integration programs that will be deployed from 2022 to meet the training and recruitment needs of sectors facing shortages.

Sèmè City provides an attractive and dynamic environment for various partners to develop high-impact projects. The targeted partners are:  

  • Operators providing higher education and technical and vocational training programs;
  • Incubators and accelerators of entrepreneurial projects;
  • Laboratories, research centers and university chairs;
  • Companies active in the education and innovation ecosystem;
  • Experts in educational engineering and in the creation of high-level training and entrepreneurship programs.

Sèmè City Managing Director, Mme Claude Borna commenting on the call for proposals, stated, “By creating Sèmè City, Benin is developing a unique setup to train a new generation of talent, equip them for the future and promote a growth model based on innovation made in Africa.  Since starting our operations in 2017, we have laid the solid foundation to make this vision a reality. The new partnerships we are forging as part of the 2022 call for projects represent a strong commitment to co-construct tomorrow’s African successes today. We expect to see very strong impacts in terms of jobs, products and services recognized as innovative and solutions that can be exported far beyond the continent.”

Located in Benin on the west coast of Africa, Sèmè City is the gateway to a thriving sub-regional ecosystem of professional training and innovative entrepreneurship.  Since its launch in 2017, Sèmè City has grown exponentially and offers programs deployed in four locations in Benin. Several hundred students and researchers are enrolled in these various undergraduate, research and continuing education programs.  More than 1,000 entrepreneurs have also participated in capacity building and support programs. 

Phase 1 of the project is now operational with a 4,500 square meter campus in Cotonou that includes modular and equipped classrooms, an auditorium, research spaces and a data center. Adjacent to the campus, the 2,500 square meter Sèmè City Open Park provides access to prototyping and 3D printing tools in buildings built from containers.

Among the partnerships already launched in Phase 1 are with academic institutions such as Epitech, École de Design Nantes Atlantique, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Sorbonne University as well as several technical and financial partners including the World Bank, UNICEF, UNFPA, the Belgian Development Agency (ENABEL), and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

For its second phase, Sèmè City will be able to accommodate up to 33,000 students, entrepreneurs and innovators from various African countries in its new 336-hectare smart eco-campus under development in Ouidah, a peri-urban area hosting several major tourism projects. Organized around five innovation clusters, the Ouidah campus will be operational by the start of the 2025 academic year:

  • Cluster 1    Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Sustainable Cities
  • Cluster 2    Art, Design and Creative Industries
  • Cluster 3    Education, Human and Social Sciences
  • Cluster 4    Sports, Nutrition and Wellness
  • Cluster 5    Tourism, Hospitality and Catering

Built next to a protected forest, this eco-city is designed to preserve the exceptional environment. It will integrate housing, sports facilities and shops. Facilities will be made available to partners who wish to rent space and plots will also be available for those who want to develop their projects.

The vision for phase 2 of Sèmè City is materialized through the development of a regional center for higher education and technical and vocational training with infrastructures and technical platforms that meet the required standards to facilitate learning and professional insertion. This regional center for professional training and entrepreneurship will provide young people with favorable training conditions inspired by successful models as well as opportunities for insertion into the French and English-speaking African markets. 

The call for proposals is open to organizations and institutions based within Africa and outside of the region.  For more information, please visit [https://www.semecity.bj/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/appel-a-projets-2022-seme-city.pdf.

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