AfDB board approves pooled investment to boost innovation across sub-saharan Africa

AdobeStock 298066439The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved an equity investment pool of US$11.8mn towards the first close of the Janngo Start-Up Fund, a pan-African tech start-up fund

The pooled funds comprise US$7.9mn provided by the African Development Bank and a US$3.9mn contribution by the European Union and the organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

The Janngo Start-Up Fund, managed by Janngo Capital, builds, grows and invests in tech start-ups with proven business models and inclusive social impact. Its focus areas span agribusiness, financial services, energy, education, and healthcare, primarily in Francophone West Africa.

Stefan Nalletamby, the bank’s director for financial sector development, said the Janngo Fund can drive the transformation from a more traditional business ecosystem into a dynamic, 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,” stated Nalletamby.

The Fund is expected to enhance the private sector by deploying technology-enabled business models for small and medium enterprises that address the needs of underserved populations; create significant employment opportunities for youth and women, and improve the quality of life for Africans.

The pooled investment advances the Boost Africa Program, a collaboration among the contributing partners and the European Investment Bank to back investment funds that target early-stage innovative enterprises across sub-Saharan Africa.

The Bank’s support for the Janngo Start-Up Fund aligns with its jobs for youth strategy, as well as its support for private sector-led growth and entrepreneurship in African economies.

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