UNDP to Launch $1B Financing Initiative for African Startups, to Build Tech Hubs in Cairo and 7 Other Cities

UNDP to Launch $1B Financing Initiative for African Startups, to Build Tech Hubs in Cairo and 7 Other Cities

UNDP, the United Nations Development Program Africa is set to launch Timbuktoo, a $1 billion initiative to mobilize and accelerate new African startups. The development was confirmed by the UNDP’s official Twitter handle @UNDP yesterday.

The organization which plans to mobilize $1 billion from public and private capital, will be devoted to the goal over the next ten years. The initiative was officially launched in Nigeria yesterday and will be launched in Accra on August 19th.

“#timbuktoo is on a mission to grow world-class startups to unlock opportunities in the #OneAfricanMarket,” a tweet from UNDP read in part.

The Chief Innovation Officer, UNDP Africa, Eleni Gabre-Medhin said this during the launching ceremony in Lagos yesterday. “We need to do things better. And that is what #timbuktoo is all about. It’s how we can actually support the innovation ecosystem in such a way that Africa grows from it.”

UNDP Africa to Launch Tech Hubs in 8 African Cities

Furthermore, UNDP Africa hinted that it is mobilizing private and public sector partners to establish eight Timbuktoo hubs across Africa’s leading startup ecosystems – Lagos, Nairobi, Cairo, Cape Town, Accra, Dakar, Kigali, and Casablanca – with operations set to begin in 2023.

Each hub, according to UNDP, will focus on a different priority sector, including Fintech, Agritech, Healthtech, Greentech, Creatives, Tradetech and Logistics, Smart Cities and Mobility, and Tourismtech, and will house a Venture Builder and a Venture Fund.

The massive undertaking’s structure includes a Parent Fund of catalytic grant capital, in collaboration with impact-minded catalytic partners, that would finance the network of Hubs as well as Head Quarters. According to the statement, the Parent Fund would also inject a minority stake in each of the commercially oriented Hub Venture Funds in the form of guarantees or first-loss capital.

This initiative, which was launched by UNDP in 2021, aims to reach 18 countries by 2023. Timbuktoo will also encourage African students to innovate through the establishment of University Innovation Pods (UniPods) in ten African low-income countries (Benin, Chad, Guinea Conakry, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Togo, and Uganda) by the end of 2022.

It’s worth noting that the Timbuktoo initiative has moved quickly on several fronts since its inception. In addition to mobilizing resources and engaging host governments for the establishment of eight Timbuktoo pan-African Hubs in leading startup ecosystems, which are expected to be operational in 2023.