Investors and startups shaking hands and exchanging greetings

Catalyzing Investment Pipelines between Africa and Japan

Meet the Tôshikas. 

Where African Startups and Innovators Unite with Japanese Investors for Sustainable Development!



The word “Tôshika” (投資家) means “Investor” in Japanese.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been actively engaged in unleashing the potential of young entrepreneurs across Africa, providing critical policy advisory support, technical cooperation, and facilitating financial contributions. 

UNDP recognizes the dearth of publicly available information about the vibrant startup ecosystem in many African regions that add to investor hesitancy. We also recognize the critical gaps in terms of investment readiness of startups, which is caused by lack of pre-investment exposure to and communication with prospective investors.

People shaking hands and SDGs mark

In a strategic move, UNDP is initiating a groundbreaking project named “Meet the Tôshikas,” supported by catalytic funding from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan (METI). This project seeks to delve deeply into the African startup ecosystems, identifying and addressing fundamental elements hindering their growth and investment.

Japanese investors are always pivotal to this kind of endeavour. As a co-organizer of TICAD (The Tokyo International Conference of African Development), UNDP supports their increased contribution to Africa, including startups with great impact and growth potential. Their participation brings not only financial support for African startups but also valuable expertise and networks to take the startup ecosystems to the next level. 

Through "Meet the Tôshikas," UNDP aims to bring about transformation of how investors find, capacitate and invest in African startups. This year 2024, the project is implemented in Angola, South Africa, and Zambia.


The objectives of this programme are to:

  1. Mobilize finance and promote financial services to tech-enabled startups that have the most potential and align with SDGs;
  2. Enhance the productive capacity and improve the competitiveness and investment readiness of young African entrepreneurs;
  3. Encourage more Japanese venture capital investment towards African startups.

Programme Overview

For this edition, the UNDP “Meet the Tôshikas” programme consists in:

  1. Selecting 6 African startups (2 from Angola, 2 from South Africa, and 2 from Zambia)
  2. Running these startups through a local Investment Readiness Support Program (IRSP) in their respective countries. 
  3. Offering a $20,000 grant from the UNDP Startup Challenge Fund upon completion of the programme. 
  4. Taking part in a 1-week roadshow to Tokyo to meet potential partners and investors. 
  5. Having the startups pitch in front of 3 Japanese investors bullish on Africa to secure investment. 


Programme Timeline

Dates are subject to change. 

1Call for ApplicationsJanuary 29, 2024
2Application PeriodStarts January 29, 2024
 Application Deadline -ZambiaMarch 3, 2024  11:59pm (Zambia time)
 Application Deadline –South AfricaMarch 10, 2024  11:59pm (South Africa time)
 Application Deadline –AngolaMarch 17, 2024  11:59pm (South Africa time)
3Selection ProcessStarts March 4, 2024
 Top 2 Startups – Lusaka (Zambia)April 12, 2024
 Top 2 Startups – Johannesburg (South Africa)April 19, 2024
 Top 2 Startups – Luanda (Angola)April 26, 2024
4Announcement of the Top 6 StartupsMay 8, 2024
5Investor Readiness Support ProgrammeMay 13, 2024
6Roadshow to TokyoSeptember 2 to 5, 2024
7Meet the Tôshikas! September 6, 2024