The Palaver Tree

Pan African Hackathon around the informal economy

In December 2017 in Abidjan, the Societe Generale's Innovation Lab in Africa launched its second hackathon. This time, the objective was to identify the needs of actors in the grey sector and to find customized and innovative solutions to their problems.

The Palaver Tree is a place where people gather, experiment and exchange. It has become one of Societe Generale's African Innovation Lab's major events, in line with its ambition to support the continent's economic growth. Inspired by the African tradition of gathering and reflecting upon family, social or political issues regarding the community, the event was meant to keep in mind humility and goodwill, true to the custom.

It shed light on informal economy stakeholders by connecting them to young and innovative companies, who worked together to identify their needs and find tailor-made solutions.

More than 350 startups were present to take on the challenge.

After 4 days of intense brainstorming14 projects were presented to the jury, who selected 4 winning projects.

The winning projects:

  • 1st place: the overall winner was WEEBI, which offers a solution dedicated to fish wholesale traders in Dakar, Senegal. FIU is a delivery service of fresh fish in 24 hours for fishmongers who wish to have access to other commercial market opportunities and restaurants who need to expand their food supply. The team, who arrived first, will hence be able to develop its solution in the Societe Generale incubator #LePlateau in Paris for 3 months
  • 2nd place: COOFA (Algeria) proposed data feed between consumer good-producers, distributors (the actors of the informal sector) and the final clients
  • 3rd place: Afrimalin (Senegal, Guinea), who imagined JAWANDO, a data base dedicated to informal economy stakeholders to digitalize their data et redistribute their savings via the YUP mobile money.
  • The jury's "special favourite": DOTHAN Group, from Côte d'Ivoire, for its KEIWA PRO solution.

The teams who arrived second and third places, and the jury's "special favourite" benefited from a 2-month-long incubation in the Group's Innovation Lab in Dakar, Senegal.

All finalists were rewarded with a "Learning expedition" in the innovation ecosystem of Bangalore (India).