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$1 Billion Innovation Boost: Rwanda and Nigeria Spearhead African Startup Revolution

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louis Buyisiwe

Mar 30, 2024

High Representative of the Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation


In a landmark move for African innovation, Rwanda's capital, Kigali, became the stage for an unprecedented collaboration between President Paul Kagame and former Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The duo came together to spearhead the Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at nurturing African startups with a substantial $1 billion fund.


Richard Tusabe, Rwanda's Minister of State for National Treasury, heralded the discussions between the leaders as pivotal. He underscored the Timbuktoo Foundation's commitment to elevating African youth, transforming them into entrepreneurs, innovators, and problem solvers. "The Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation is not just a fund; it's a catalyst for transformative change across Africa, fostering innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship on a pan-African scale," Tusabe stated.


This initiative, which saw its inception at a special session of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, aims to bolster startups across the African continent with the $1 billion innovation fund. The fund represents a significant stride towards empowering the African innovation ecosystem, providing both financial support and a platform for young entrepreneurs to thrive.


Yemi Osinbajo, serving as the High Representative of the Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation, celebrated the launch of the Foundation in Rwanda. He lauded the collaborative effort between the UNDP, African governments, and the private sector as "the world's largest initiative supporting Africa's innovation ecosystem." Osinbajo emphasized the transformative potential of the initiative, stating, "Timbuktoo transcends being merely an initiative; it embodies a movement towards redefining Africa through innovation."


With initiatives like UniPods sparking creativity in 13 cities and thematic hubs promoting excellence in sectors ranging from FinTech to GreenTech, the Timbuktoo Foundation is set to revolutionize the landscape of African innovation. "This historic day marks the beginning of a transformative journey for Africa, turning dreams into impactful ventures," Osinbajo remarked, envisioning a future where innovation redefines the continent.


The Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation is poised to ignite a new era of growth and creativity across Africa, making the dream of a vibrant, innovative continent a tangible reality. As leaders and visionaries unite under this cause, the future of African innovation shines brighter than ever, promising a legacy of entrepreneurship and transformative success.

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