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The $1 Billion Fund for African Startups

At the 24th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) unveiled the "Timbuktoo" initiative in partnership with African nations. This ambitious project aims to establish the world's largest financing facility, bringing together catalytic and commercial capital to strengthen Africa's startup ecosystem.

The Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund, hailed as the continent's largest-ever startup fund, will allocate $350 million in risk-tolerant capital. The initiative will provide financing for accelerators and venture builders, with investments of up to $800 million in venture firms across eight African countries in collaboration with private partners, details not previously disclosed.

Timbuktoo's funds are set to boost a range of startups across Africa with pre-seed, seed, and pre-Series A equity investments. In Morocco, they'll focus on tourism and hospitality ventures, while edtech takes the spotlight in Senegal. The fund will concentrate on fintech in Nigeria, agritech in Ghana, and support creative industries in South Africa's Capetown. Nairobi will see an emphasis on Greentech, health tech in Rwanda's Kigali, and trade, logistics, and e-commerce in Cairo, Egypt. It also plans to collaborate with local universities to support tech ventures.

Africa currently accounts for just 0.2% of the global startup value, with 89% of venture capital originating from foreign sources and 83% concentrated in four countries. Timbuktoo aims to transform Africa's knowledge-driven economy, fostering the development of pan-African enterprises and attracting both global and local investments.

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