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Rwanda Becomes Official Headquarters of Africa’s Innovation Financing Facility

Rwanda Becomes Official Headquarters of Africa’s Innovation Financing Facility

Rwanda last week officially became the headquarters of Africa’s innovation financing facility, known as timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation.

The foundation launched by African leaders in January this year at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, is a bold partnership between the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), African governments, and the private sector.

A statement issued by the UNDP Tuesday said the innovation foundation will be hosted at the Kigali International Financial Center, Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Promoted by the UNDP, timbuktoo aims to address critical gaps and work with African governments, investors, corporates, and universities, to support the African startup ecosystem.

“This is Africa’s moment. And we must stand up for the continent now. I am proud to lend my support to the foundation and its fund, which are most critical in setting the path of its early wins,” Natalie Jabangwe, the foundation’s interim executive secretary, said in the statement.

Rwandan Minister of ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire said collaborative networks will be created across institutions.

“We welcome the establishment of timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation, dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across the continent. We invite African governments and partners to unite in our mission, creating a vibrant pan-African innovation ecosystem,” said Ingabire. “Together, we will forge collaborative networks spanning universities, startups, and venture capital, driving sustainable growth and prosperity for all.”

Ahunna Eziakonwa, assistant secretary-general and director of the UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, said the UNDP designed timbuktoo as an offering for African youth to spark the startup revolution.

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The timbuktoo initiative is already building university innovation pods in 13 African cities, including Kigali, as centers for research and development, offering young innovators space to transform their ideas into minimum viable products and profitable ventures, according to the UNDP.

Timbuktoo is also establishing thematic hubs as centers of excellence across Africa to offer a world-class one-stop shop for ecosystem and venture-building support in technology areas.

The UNDP said more than 1,000 startups are targeted from across the continent as part of the initiative’s efforts to spark Africa’s startup revolution with an estimated investment of more than 1 billion U.S. dollars over the next 10 years.

Further Africa

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