UNDP’s ‘timbuktoo’ showcased at North Africa Startup Summit in Tunis

September 20, 2022

Astria Fataki, Ecosystem Specialist of timbuktoo presenting timbuktoo at the summit

Photo: UNDP Africa

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has partnered with AfricArena and other partners on the North Africa Startup Summit to create awareness and seek collaboration for its new startup ecosystem financing initiative, ‘timbuktoo’. The Summit was held from 30-31 August in Tunisia at the end of the Eight Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8).

Supported by a broad range of partners including the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Invest for Jobs, Tunisia’s Digital Transformation Center, Double Feathers Partners, Expertise France, European Union, Innovi, Startup Tunisia, methys, AWS, and UNDP, the Summit provided an opportunity to some of Africa’s most innovative startups to connect with investors and corporate companies to accelerate growth.

The ‘timbuktoo’ initiative aims to mobilize and invest one billion dollars of public and private capital over 10 years to harness the continent’s enormous youth talent to transform Africa into a knowledge and innovation global powerhouse.

The presentation on ‘timbuktoo’ highlighted its main three objectives: to address the gap in early-stage risk capital for African startups; to integrate and align the startup ecosystem; and to enable startups to leverage the ‘One Africa Market Plus’ opportunity.

Over the next 18 months eight privately operated pan-African hubs attracting startup talent from across the continent will be launched in relatively more mature ecosystems across Africa. Each hub will combine a ‘Startup Builder’ to support and grow a pipeline of viable tech-enabled startups and a venture fund that will invest in the startups, focusing on pre-seed to pre-Series A funding. Each hub will have a single vertical focus, including fintech, agritech, healthtech, greentech and energy, creatives, tradetech and logistics, smart cities and mobility, and tourismtech.

Key discussions at the Summit focused on addressing challenges with startups funding and access to international markets. The speakers also urged startups to choose the right fund structure and leverage the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to grow their businesses.

The various investor organizations at the Summit included Kepple Africa Ventures, sawari ventures, plug and play, Delphos, Arzan venture capital, Silicon Badia, bpifrance, Knife Capital, GrindStone, JoziAngels, Future Africa, breega, AfricInvest, saviu ventures, 500 Global, Digital Africa, Pamoja Ventures, Naspers, Partech, 216 Capital, endeavor South Africa, and Cairo Angels.

Key ecosystem players present at the Summit expressed keen interest in ‘timbuktoo’ and working with the initiative to realize the potential of startups to contribute to economic growth in Africa.


For further information on timbuktoo, please contact:

Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Chief Innovation Officer, UNDP Africa