UNDP, Africa Launch $1 Billion Timbuktoo Initiative for a Startup Revolution

In Davos, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced the “timbuktoo” program in collaboration with African countries. The project, announced at a special session at the 24th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, seeks to be the world’s largest funding facility, bringing together catalytic and commercial resources to strengthen Africa’s startup ecosystem.

H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, H.E. President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, HE Wamkele Mene, and UNDP Administrator, Mr. Achim Steiner, presented the initiative to global corporate leaders and African financial institutions. The timbuktoo initiative aims to ignite the African Startup Revolution by harnessing Africa’s youth demographic and innovative potential.

The program aims to address significant gaps in the African startup ecosystem by cooperating with governments, investors, corporations, and institutions to promote innovation. H.E. Paul Kagame offered an initial US$3 million donation to launch the Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund, which will be based in Kigali and has a billion-dollar goal of creating possibilities for Africa’s youth.

H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo stressed the need of enabling frameworks that allow young Africans to start creative firms, thereby creating jobs and promoting long-term economic progress. Administrator Steiner cited timbuktoo as a new development model, emphasizing startup-friendly legislation, global-class startup building, de-risking finance, and UniPods (University Innovation Pods) throughout Africa.

Africa accounts for only 0.2 percent of global startup value, with 89 percent of venture financing coming from outside sources and 83 percent concentrated in just four nations. Timbuktoo aims to transform Africa’s knowledge-driven economy by converting ideas into pan-African businesses that attract both global and local investment.

With private venture capital investments in Africa expected to grow six times faster than the world average in 2022, as well as a lively young population and expanding tech startups, Timbuktoo intends to raise $1 billion to alter 100 million livelihoods and generate 10 million new employment. The initiative’s innovative architecture combines commercial and catalytic financing to reduce the risk of private investment, encouraging a pan-African approach to assisting entrepreneurs and enhancing the overall ecosystem.

Written by PH

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