CDP launches Archipelagos, a development platform for more than 1,000 African SMEs

CDP launches Archipelagos, a development platform for more than 1,000 African SMEs

A digital platform that brings young entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from the African continent closer to the capital market leveraging collaboration with local stock exchanges, while also providing trainings, new collaborative networks and innovative financial instruments specifically dedicated to support the growth of the SMEs targeted by the training program. These are the key elements of the multi-year program "Archipelagos," developed by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and the African stock exchanges, as part of the European Commission's European External Investment Plan which aims at mobilizing private investment to support Africa's development.

It is expected than more than 1,000 enterprises in Africa will be eligible to access the Archipelagos program, structured around three main areas: training, mentoring, and networking. The project is developed mainly through the digital platform, which has a dual function: on one hand, to make available - to selected users - a variety of online courses with differentiated learning paths, according to the specific needs and stage of development; on the other hand, to offer participants the opportunity to access a network of companies, especially other SMEs and investors, also through the CDP's Business Matching Platform, specifically designed to foster and strengthen economic-commercial relations between companies.

The program includes, in the first phase, capacity-building activities through training and coaching, with the aim of strengthening financial, industrial and operational skills of African SMEs; additionally, companies considered ready to access the capital markets will have the opportunity to access innovative financing instruments that will benefit from subsidized pricing thanks to guarantees made available by the European Commission.

In the first pilot phase, the project will be launched in Morocco, Côte d'Ivoire, and South Africa, and will then gradually expand to other states on the African continent.

"The launch of the Archipelagos program represents a further, fundamental step in our mission to support the growth of Africa's entrepreneurial fabric." Paolo Lombardo, Director of International Development Cooperation at CDP, said during the "Italy meets Africa" digital event hosted on the CDP Business Matching Platform. "Private sector development is key to foster lasting and inclusive growth in Africa. CDP has placed the African continent at the center of its international development cooperation strategy and wants to be an active part of this process, offering innovative solutions that combine financial support and skills creation and development. To do this, we collaborate with local stakeholders, in a spirit of mutual enrichment, to promote future-proof African private sector growth."

For more information and details on the "Archipelagos Program" and how to apply, visit the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti website at: