Ghana is set to host a Pan-African agriculture-technology (AgriTech) and innovation hub to stimulate growth of sustainable startups and create jobs for the youth on the Continent.
The hub is one of eight to be established in Nigeria, Rwanda, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt under the $1 billion “Timbuktoo (TimX)” initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The initiative will mobilise most of its capital from Venture Funds with support from public funds to be invested in 1,000 businesses over 10-years to spark the continent’s startup revolution and provide sustainable employment to the youth.
Through private-public partnership, the project will address the “early-stage capital risk” African startups in financial technology (FinTech), creative, logistics, and AgriTech sectors faced, and scale-up their operations.
Dr Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin, Timbuktoo Project Head, told the Ghana News Agency after the launch of the initiative in Accra 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 is the Chief Innovation Officer of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, said the current gap in early-stage risk capital of start-ups would be solved to better integrate African innovation players from universities to corporates to investors, and to enable such businesses to seize the African market opportunity.
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 said UNDP would work closely with the private sector to embrace a bold new reality in which the future was driven by technology and innovation.
“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.