Venture Capital: UNDP To Launch “Timbuktoo,” A $1B Investment Initiative For African Startups

August 18, 2022 | News, Venture Capital
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Timbuktoo launched in Nigeria on Wednesday, August 17.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) plans to bankroll $1 billion in start-up funding for African businesses over a period of ten years and will involve both public and private capital.

The UNDP Africa aims to engage a large number of private and public sector partners to establish eight Timbuktoo hubs across Africa’s leading startup ecosystems (Accra, Nairobi, Cape Town, Lagos, Dakar, Kigali, Casablanca, and Cairo, among others) and begin operations in 2023, according to a statement.

Each hub, the organisers claim, will focus on a different sector of Fintech, Agrtech, Healthtech, Greentech, Creative, Tradetech, and Logistics, Smart Cities, and Mobility, and Tourismtech, that touches on all of these sectors at once. There will also be a Venture Builder and a Venture Fund housed in each hub.

Timbuktoo has also spearheaded the establishment of University Innovation Pods (UniPods), at national level in ten Lower-Income Countries in Africa (Benin, Chad, Guinea Conakry, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Togo, and Uganda), with the goal of prompting university students to develop innovative and imaginative thinking. The UniPods will be operational by the end of 2022, and as a result, Timbuktoo’s influence will extend to eighteen African nations by 2023, the statement said.

Timbuktoo’s structure involves a Parent Fund of catalytic grant capital, tied with impact-oriented catalytic partners, that would finance the network of Hubs and also a HeadQuarters. In addition, a minor stake in each of the Hub Venture Funds, which are commercially oriented, would be provided as guarantees or first-loss capital, the announcement said.

Related Story: Opay Nabs $400M; Turns Africa’s Fastest Unicorn

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