The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has unveiled “timbuktoo,” a $1 billion innovation fund aimed at supporting startups across key African cities.

UNDP
UNDP

The initiative seeks to empower groundbreaking ideas, reshape Africa’s economic landscape, and address critical challenges for people and the planet.

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With Africa currently holding only 0.2% of the global startup value, “timbuktoo” aims to boost entrepreneurship across various sectors, including fintech, trade, logistics, e-commerce, healthtech, cleantech, the creative sector, smart city/mobility, edtech, traveltech, and agritech.

The fund’s targeted approach focuses on eight key African cities, fostering a comprehensive startup ecosystem. The fund received an initial boost of $3 million from Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who hosted the initiative in Kigali.

“timbuktoo” plans to use a “blended capital” model, combining commercial and catalytic funds to de-risk private investment and support startups in their growth journey.

Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP’s Africa Bureau Director, expressed confidence in the initiative, stating that “timbuktoo will be a catalyst, transforming potential into powerful, pan-African businesses that attract global investment and generate prosperity for millions.” The fund aims to address the disparity in foreign venture capital dominance and boost Africa’s presence in the global startup landscape.

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