Together with African nations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced the “timbuktoo” initiative, which it claims is positioned to be “the world’s largest financing facility,” bringing together commercial and catalytic resources to assist Africa’s startup ecosystem.
Achim Steiner, the UNDP administrator, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Secretary General Wamkele Mene of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, and Secretary General of the World Economic Forum presented the initiative last week during a special session of the World Economic Forum at its 24th Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Timbuktoo, an initiative supported by the UNDP, seeks to close important gaps and collaborate with African governments, businesses, investors, and academic institutions to strengthen the continent’s startup scene.
The goal is to raise and deploy $1 billion in commercial and catalytic investments to improve 100 million people’s quality of life and generate 10 million new, respectable jobs.
In addition to taking a pan-African approach to startup support, the initiative will combine commercial and catalytic capital to reduce the risk associated with private investment. It will also focus on the entire ecosystem, strengthening the connections between government policy, academic institutions, corporations, development partners, and commercial investors.
“We cannot accept that another generation of African young people do not have the tools to reach their full potential,” said Kagame, who announced an immediate contribution of US$3 million to start the timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund, which will be hosted in Kigali. “With timbuktoo’s billion-dollar target, we can create more opportunities for Africa’s youth to put their talent and creativity to good use.”
According to Akufo-Addo, putting the proper frameworks in place to allow young Africans to start compelling and innovative firms that can make a major contribution to job creation and sustainable economic growth is the biggest problem facing many African nations.
“I’m enthusiastic about our continent’s future. He remarked, “I’m excited to see us build a future where creativity is valued, resourcefulness is rewarded, and prosperity is distributed.
Timbuktoo, according to Steiner, is a new paradigm for growth.
“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,” he said.