Investor Activity

UNDP Launches $1bn Timbuktoo Initiative To Invest In African Tech Ecosystems

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The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Regional Office in Lagos, Nigeria, has inaugurated the Timbuktoo project, which aims to foster entrepreneurship in Africa and the start-up movement.

Over the next decade, this billion-dollar programme will be sponsored by public and private funding. According to a statement issued by UNDP Africa, “Timbuktoo centres are being established in Casablanca, Cairo, Accra, Nairobi, Cape Verde, Lagos, Dakar, and Kigali in collaboration with a network of commercial and public players. These hubs are expected to be operational by 2023 “.

The Timbuktoo project, which was first launched in 2021, has a goal to catalyse African digital start-ups and seeks to reach over 1,000 start-ups on a large scale.

Each Timbuktoo Center will be privately managed and will specialise on a specific vertical industry, such as fintech, agritech, healthtech, greentech, tradetech and logistics, Smart Cities, and tourismtech. Each hub should house a “venture builder” (start-up factory) as well as a venture capital fund.

Timbuktoo has achieved considerable development since its debut. University innovation pods (UniPods) are being developed and should be available for usage in low-income nations such as Mali, Togo, Benin, Malawi, Lesotho, Guinea, and Chad by the end of 2022. The goal is to inspire pupils to engage in innovative and design-thinking activities. The ultimate objective is to increase timbuktoo’s reach to 18 African nations by 2023.

The Timbuktoo initiative, according to Eleni Gabre-Madhin, Head of Innovation for UNDP Africa, aims to “fill the current gap in early stage venture capital, and to better integrate African innovation actors, from universities to companies, including investors, and will enable young companies to seize the opportunity of the African market.”

Timbuktoo’s methodology, which is centred on studying, creating, and implementing African solutions offered by young Africans, clearly correlates with several of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Source: Charles Rapulu Udoh |

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