The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank approved on Wednesday, November 16 a €50-million package of investments in various angel, venture, seed, accelerator and incubator funds with the aim of funding innovative start-ups and early stage small businesses across Africa.
The Boost Africa Investment Program seeks to invest in truly innovative businesses, mostly operated by youth (18-35 years) and that are positively ‘disruptive’ in a local market context thanks to a ‘uniqueness’ in terms of the overall business model, products, services, delivery mechanisms, technology applied or otherwise.
The initiative is one of the first instruments of the Bank’s recently approved Jobs for Youth Strategy, which responds to the renaissance of such entrepreneurially driven and home-grown business models in various sectors such as for example (off-grid) energy, telecom, agribusiness, industry, and privately delivered social services, such as health and education, that have the potential to grow and contribute significantly to inclusive growth and job creation.
“The Boost Africa Initiative thus aims to spur the entrepreneurial power of the African youth to create innovative and compelling businesses with the capacity to compete regionally and globally, to attract domestic and foreign direct investments, to create new and quality jobs, and contribute to economic growth,” said Stefan Nalletamby, Director of the Financial Sector Development Department at the AfDB.
Innovative start-ups need not only financing, but also capacity-building support and adequate networks and business connections, which will be offered through the broader Boost Africa Initiative which also has a Technical Assistance and a Lab component.
Boost Africa is expected to be a partnership with various investors and donors. AfDB developed the initiative with the European Investment Bank. The official joint launch took place in Abidjan on Monday, November 21, 2016.
The contributions by the AfDB and others will leverage further investments into this sector, up to a total amount of €1 billion.
The Boost Africa Initiative forms part of the AfDB’s High 5 priorities, in particular “Improving the quality of life for the people of Africa” and the related Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative.