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UNDP Launches $1 Billion Initiative to Boost African Tech Startups

The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP plans to raise $1 billion with African governments and private sector players. This initiative aims to build technology hubs across Africa to boost startup innovation.

The first of these ten hubs will open soon at the UNDP innovation center in Lagos, Nigeria. According to UNDP, more hubs will open later in 2024.

These include an agritech hub in Accra, Ghana, a healthtech hub in Kigali, Rwanda, and a minetech hub in Lusaka, Zambia.

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University Innovation Pods to Foster Research

UNDP has also started University Innovation Pods in 13 African cities. These pods will serve as research centers for young innovators. They will provide spaces for transforming ideas into viable products and profitable ventures.

Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP Africa Bureau, signed an email statement. She called this initiative a major milestone for igniting a startup revolution in Africa.

The focus is on the African youth population. The hubs and the $1 billion fund, raised from private and public institutions, will support over 10,000 youth-led startups. These startups will span across various economic sectors on the continent.

On January 17, 2024, a report highlighted UNDP’s partnership with African countries. They aim to launch the Timbuktoo Initiative, and raise $1 billion to create 10 million jobs and transform 100 million lives.

Africa is home to the world’s fastest-growing and youngest population. This makes it a lucrative market for finance, agriculture, and healthcare startups. Successful startups like Interswitch, Flutterwave, and Jumia have become unicorns, valued at over $1 billion.

The $1 billion fund will greatly benefit African tech startups. This comes at a crucial time, given the sharp decline in venture capital inflows in 2023.

Around 83% of venture capital in Africa comes from outside the continent. Most of it goes to Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt, with fintech receiving about 60% of the total.