fundingStart Ups

Exciting News: UNDP Introduces $1 Billion Fund to Support African Startups!

Exciting News: UNDP Introduces $1 Billion Fund to Support African Startups

In a remarkable move to boost African startups, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has introduced a groundbreaking initiative called the “timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund,” allocating a whopping $1 billion to support innovative ventures across the continent. This extraordinary fund was unveiled during a special session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with prominent African leaders like President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and others taking the stage.

The “timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund” aspires to be the world’s largest financing facility, bringing together catalytic and commercial capital to nurture Africa’s burgeoning startup ecosystem. The launch ceremony, attended by global corporate leaders and African financial institutions, marked a significant milestone in igniting what is being hailed as the “African Startup Revolution.” This initiative aims to harness the momentum generated by Africa’s substantial youth population and its abundance of innovative talent.

During the launch, Rwandan President Paul Kagame pledged an immediate contribution of $3 million to kickstart the fund, which will be headquartered in Kigali. He emphasized the importance of equipping African youth with the tools they need to fulfill their potential, expressing a commitment to creating more opportunities for the continent’s young talent through the billion-dollar “timbuktoo” initiative.

Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the need for African countries to establish the right structures that empower young entrepreneurs to create innovative and impactful businesses. He expressed excitement about the prospect of fostering a future where innovation is encouraged, ingenuity is supported, and prosperity is shared across the continent.

The “timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund” is championed by the UNDP and seeks to address critical gaps in collaboration with African governments, investors, corporations, and universities. This ambitious project encompasses various fronts, from advocating for startup-friendly legislation to establishing global-class startup support systems and de-risking capital to attract more investment. The initiative also introduces “UniPods” – University Innovation Pods – across Africa, aiming to fill vital gaps and support the entire startup ecosystem.

Africa currently holds a mere 0.2% share of the global startup value, a stark contrast to its 2% share of global trade value. Moreover, a significant 89% of venture capital flowing into Africa is foreign capital, with 83% concentrated in four countries: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt. The fintech sector alone receives over 60% of this capital. The “timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund” intends to mobilize and invest $1 billion of catalytic and commercial capital, with the goal of transforming 100 million livelihoods and creating 10 million new jobs.

What sets “timbuktoo” apart is its unique design, blending commercial and catalytic capital to de-risk private investment. This approach, coupled with a pan-African focus on supporting startups and enhancing the entire ecosystem, emphasizes collaboration between government policy, universities, corporations, development partners, catalytic partners, and commercial investors.

In summary, the “timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund” stands as a groundbreaking initiative poised to reshape Africa’s startup landscape. With its substantial financial commitment and holistic approach, the fund aspires to unlock the full potential of African innovation, creating a ripple effect that transforms millions of lives and contributes to sustainable economic growth across the continent.

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