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Johannesburg's Tshimologong announces R14,5m digital expansion

Johannesburg's Tshimologong announces R14,5m digital expansion

Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, founded by Wits University has launched a Digital Content Hub, an incubator of innovative and creative audio-visual content, in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS).

Established in 2016 in the inner-city district of Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct was established to incubate digital entrepreneurs and develop skills for the digital economy through collaboration with academia, corporates, government and entrepreneurs.

Tshimologong said it will use a three-year €950,000 (R14,5 million) grant from AFD to expand its activities and incorporate audiovisual content creation (animation, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, holograms, 360° video, web content, video games, applications, web series and music).

According to the digital innovation precinct, the new Digital Content Hub will be managed by Tshimologong in collaboration with key players in the multimedia and cultural and creative industries sector in France.

Tshimologong Precinct, CEO Lesley Williams said: "We need this kind of partnership for much needed skills development in the country. This partnership will further create market access between French companies and South African startups, driving investment opportunities for digital content businesses. It is a win-win for all involved and Tshimologong is excited to work with both the AFD and IFAS."

This is the first investment by AFD in the area of digital innovation in Southern Africa, according to a statement released by Tshimologong, and reflects the organisation's new focus on financing cultural, creative and tech industries as key players in local economic development.

Martha Stein-Sochas, AFD Southern Africa Regional Director, is quoted as saying: "The cultural and creative industries are capitalising on the tremendous momentum of digital innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa. From fashion to visual arts, from film to music - culture creates jobs, stimulates the economy, and enables inclusive and sustainable growth, while helping to better address issues of education, citizenship and the environment.

AFD, by financing the Digital Content Hub, is proud to be associated with Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, and in doing so, it puts innovation and creative industries in the heart of its mission in South Africa."

Tshimologong and IFAS joined forces to integrate the existing Digital Lab Africa system within a new Digital Content Hub physical incubator project.

Those behind the integration say access to digital technologies is spreading fast in Africa where most people access the internet and digital content on their mobile phones.

"In this context, the intersection between multimedia and digital technologies is generating unprecedented opportunities for creating fresh, local content for the African market. It is estimated that by 2022, there will be more than 36 million pay TV subscribers in Africa and that there will be a strong migration of content toward digital and mobile operators with video-on-demand platforms such as Iroko, TRACE Play, ShowMax taking the lead," reads the statement.

y 2021, Tshimologong is expected to have fully incorporated digital content development into its activities in a self-sustainable manner.

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