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Rwanda: UNDP introduces $1 billion fund for startups in African nations

Introduced during a dedicated session at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, and in the company of African country leaders, this initiative is titled the ‘Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund.’

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, along with the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, and UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, jointly unveiled the initiative. Positioned as the world’s largest financing facility, this initiative aims to merge catalytic and commercial capital to bolster Africa’s startup ecosystem.

Globally renowned corporate leaders and African financial institutions were present at the event, signifying a significant stride in fueling the African startup revolution. This initiative aims to leverage the momentum generated by Africa’s substantial youth demographics and the wealth of innovative talent within the continent.

UNDP disclosed that Kagame, during the launch, announced an immediate contribution of $3 million to start the ‘Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund’, which will be hosted in Kigali.

“We cannot accept that another generation of African young people do not have the tools to reach their full potential. With Timbuktoo’s billion-dollar target, we can create more opportunities for Africa’s youth to put their talent and creativity to good use,” the Rwandan President was quoted.

On his part, Akufo-Addo said: “For many African countries, our foremost challenge now is to ensure we put in place the right structures to enable young Africans to create innovative and compelling businesses that can contribute significantly to job creation and sustainable economic growth. I am excited about the future of our continent. I look forward to seeing us create a future where innovation is encouraged, ingenuity is supported and prosperity is shared.”

Championed by the UNDP, Timbuktoo seeks to tackle crucial gaps by collaborating with African governments, investors, corporations, and universities. The initiative is dedicated to nurturing and bolstering the African startup ecosystem.

UNDP Administrator, Steiner, explained: “Timbuktoo is a new model of development. We are gathering key actors to push on all fronts at the same time. From startup-friendly legislation, global-class startup building, and de-risking capital to increase investment, to the UniPods – University Innovation Pods – across Africa, we aim to fill critical gaps and support the startup ecosystem. This will enable innovations to grow and benefit people in Africa and elsewhere on the planet.”

As outlined by the UNDP, Timbuktoo’s overarching ambition is to mobilize and deploy $1 billion, comprising both catalytic and commercial capital. The goal is to bring about a transformative impact, reaching 100 million livelihoods and generating 10 million new jobs with dignity.

source: guardian.ng

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