Ghana, Nigeria, Others to host Pan-African AgriTech Summit on boosting Startups 

Chief Innovation Officer of the Africa Regional Bureau of the United Nations Development Programme, Dr Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin

Ghana is set to host a Pan-African agriculture-technology (AgriTech) and innovation hub to serve as a catalyst for the development of sustainable startups and the generation of jobs for the continent’s youth.

The hub is one of eight to be built as part of the $1 billion “Timbuktoo (TimX)” program of the United Nations Development Programme in Nigeria, Rwanda, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, and Egypt (UNDP).

The program will raise the majority of its funding from venture capital firms, with assistance from public funds, to invest in 1,000 enterprises over a ten-year period in order to kickstart the startup revolution on the continent and give young people lasting jobs.

The project will scale up operations by addressing the “early-stage capital risk” that African businesses in the financial technology (FinTech), creative, logistics, and agritech sectors faced.

Dr Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin, Timbuktoo Project Head, after the launch of the initiative in Accra revealed that there would be a $10 billion worth of value created through TimX to impact 100 million livelihoods.

She noted that: “One of the eight hubs to be innovated will be here in Accra, each hub will have models to focus on a specific sector, and we’re looking at AgriTech as the optimal industry vertical to put here in Accra.”

Dr. Gabre-Madhin, who also serves as the Chief Innovation Officer of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, said the current gap in early-stage risk capital for start-ups will be closed in order to better integrate African innovation players from universities to corporations to investors as this will allow such businesses to take advantage of the market opportunity in Africa.

She encouraged Africans to think global in their business operations, “…and start thinking from the get-go, how they can become a pan African plus or one African market plus startups to help change the world.”

Dr Angela Lusigi, UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana also said: “Timbuktoo is a new approach for UNDP in line with our vision of a future-smart Africa that transcends old development paradigms.”

She declared that UNDP will collaborate closely with business to accept the daring new reality that technology and innovation would shape the future.

“Only exceptional achievements made by ambitious and talented young people supported by a vibrant ecosystem will move the needle in Africa and enable us to truly achieve our SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) targets,” Dr Lusigi said.


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