You are currently viewing INTRODUCING | Rwanda Pumps $3 Million into Timbuktoo, A New Pan African Hub for Startup Growth by UNDP

INTRODUCING | Rwanda Pumps $3 Million into Timbuktoo, A New Pan African Hub for Startup Growth by UNDP

Rwanda has taken the lead by contributing $3 million to a new UNDP initiative called ‘Timbuktoo,’ billed as a major step in sparking the African Startup Revolution.

Launched in January 2024 in Davos, Switzerland, the initiative by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) aims to address critical gaps and work with African governments, investors, corporates, and universities to support the African startup ecosystem.


“We cannot accept that another generation of African young people do not have the tools to reach their full potential,” said Kagame, who announced an immediate contribution of $3 million to start the Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Fund, which will be hosted in Kigali.

“With Timbuktoo’s billion-dollar target, we can create more opportunities for Africa’s youth to put their talent and creativity to good use.”


8 Timbuktoo hubs – Each pan-African hub is professionally managed, with a side structure; a startup builder and venture fund working together to support and invest in Africa’s top talent.


Currently, Africa’s share of global startup value stands at just 0.2 percent, compared to 2 percent of global trade value. The vast majority, 89 percent, of venture capital coming into Africa is foreign capital and 83 percent is concentrated in four countries:

South Africa, and

with over 60 percent of capital flowing to one sector, fintech.

According to the UNDP, Timbuktoo’s ambition is to mobilize and invest $ 1 billion of catalytic and commercial capital to transform 100 million livelihoods and create 10 million dignified new jobs.



“We are gathering key actors to push on all fronts at the same time. From startup-friendly legislation, global-class startup building, and de-risking capital to increase investment, to the UniPods – University Innovation Pods – across Africa, we aim to fill critical gaps and support the startup ecosystem. This will enable innovations to grow and benefit people in Africa and elsewhere on the planet,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner.

Timbuktoo aims to harness Africa’s massive innovative talent at its source by investing in 13 Timbutoo University Innovation Pods (UniPods), and growing.


Timbuktoo’s blend of commercial and catalytic capital to de-risk private investment, with a pan-African approach to supporting startups, makes it stand out, UNDP added. This is in addition to its focus on the whole ecosystem, engaging and deepening the linkages between government policy, universities, corporates, development partners, catalytic partners, and commercial investors.

Combined catalytic and commercial capital will help de-risk and crowd-in early stage risk capital at scale



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