EU and AfDB allocate $158m to fund startups

European Investment Bank and the European Commission have partnered African Development Bank to launch Boost Africa, an initiative to nurture more than 1,500 startups.

Multilateral lender European Investment Bank has partnered African Development Bank and the European Commission to launch Boost Africa, an initiative to support entrepreneurship with up to €150m ($158m) in capital.

European Investment Bank (EIB) and regional multilateral institution African Development Bank (AfDB) have each committed €50m of the initial investment.

The partners did not disclose where the rest of the funding would come from, but said the commission is currently appraising the amount of support it would offer and the conditions in order to enable potential other private investors to take part.

Boost Africa’s investment program aims to make 25-30 small equity investments in angel, venture capital and seed funds, and to nurture more than 1,500 startups and small businesses across the continent while generating returns for investors.

The initiative’s first investment will be in information and communications technology-focused Telecom Tide Africa Fund, which invests in startups in West and East Africa. It is also considering an investment in Africa Technology Ventures, which supports startups in East Africa with the goal of helping them to expand globally.

Boost Africa will offer a technical assistance facility, which has been allocated €20m, to provide services such as training for investee companies and entrepreneurs, capacity building and business assistance.

In addition, entrepreneurs will have access to an innovation and information lab, which has been allocated about €10m, to foster partnerships, provide incubation services and disseminate best practices.

Stefano Manservisi, director-general for international cooperation and development at the European Commission, said Boost Africa aims “to venture into new areas of support for the new generation of African entrepreneurs”.

Manservisi said: “We want to give a particular focus on fragile and risky situations where financial services are not provided by the market.”

- Photo courtesy of Bamse via Wikimedia Commons

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