AfDB pours money into Sub-Saharan tech start-ups

The African Development Bank approved an equity investment pool of €10.5 million toward a pan-African tech start-up fund. Photo: Supplied/FoodForAfrika.com

The African Development Bank approved an equity investment pool of €10.5 million towards a pan-African tech start-up fund. Photo: Supplied/FoodForAfrika.com

The African Development Bank Group’s board of directors has authorised a €10.5 million equity investment pool for the Janngo Start-Up Fund, a pan-African digital start-up fund’s first close.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) contributed €7 million, while the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States each contributed €3.5 million.

Janngo Capital manages the Janngo Start-Up Fund, which develops, grows and invests in tech start-ups with established business models and positive social impact. Its target areas, particularly in Francophone West Africa, include agribusiness, financial services, energy, education and healthcare.

The Janngo Fund, according to Stefan Nalletamby, the AfDB’s director for financial sector development, may help convert a traditional company environment into a vibrant, youth-driven and technology-focused entrepreneurial community.

“Africa is experiencing rapid mobile penetration with android and other platforms. This provides huge opportunities to develop innovative and high-growth-driven start-ups and SMEs. But there is a severe scarcity of risk capital for the new and upcoming first generation of venture capital funds targeting early-stage businesses,” Nalletamby said via a statement.

The Boost Africa Program, a cooperation between the contributing partners and the European Investment Bank to support investment funds that target early-stage innovative firms across sub-Saharan Africa, will benefit from the pooled investment. The fund intends to improve the quality of life for Africans through implementing technology-enabled business models for small and medium firms that meet the needs of underserved people.

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