UNDP Launches First Fintech Hub in Lagos, Unveils Pioneer Cohort of 42 Startups.

11 Jul 2024

On Tuesday, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) inaugurated the Timbuktoo Fintech Hub in Lagos, marking a significant milestone in a $1 billion initiative aimed at fostering startup innovation across Africa. This initiative is a collaborative effort between the UNDP, African governments, and the private sector.


The launch event featured prominent figures such as Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Regional Director for UNDP Africa, who had met earlier in the week to discuss the program's potential impact.


Situated at the UNDP Innovation Centre in Lagos, this fintech hub is the first of ten planned technology centers across Africa. Following Lagos, additional hubs will be established in Kigali, Cairo, Cape Town, Accra, Casablanca, Dakar, and Nairobi. Thirteen other African cities will host University Innovation Pods, designed to help young innovators turn their ideas into viable ventures through research and development.


During the event, 42 startups from 31 African countries were introduced as part of the inaugural Timbuktoo Fintech Startup Accelerator Programme. These startups will benefit from equity-free funding of up to $25,000 each, along with mentorship and guidance from leading industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs across Africa.


Former Nigerian Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, speaking at the launch, highlighted the transformative power of innovation, citing Nigeria's numerous unicorns as evidence of the continent's potential. He expressed optimism about the prospects of the startups selected for the accelerator programme.


Governor Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Special Adviser on Innovation and Digital Technology, Olatubosun Alake, reaffirmed the state government's support for the fintech hub. Alake emphasized the crucial role of government in fostering innovation, noting that Lagos State has been instrumental in providing the necessary infrastructure and a conducive environment for technological advancement. He also mentioned ongoing efforts to engage lawmakers and policymakers in creating supportive policies for sustained innovation.


With Africa boasting the world's fastest-growing and youthful population, the $1 billion initiative is set to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing, accelerating progress across the continent.

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