EU provides EUR 60m to Boost Africa initiative to support young entrepreneurs
Four years after its launch, Boost Africa has created jobs and unlocked economic growth across Africa and helped to transform access to entrepreneurial finance.EIB | Luxembourg | Updated: 20-04-2021 18:02 IST | Created: 20-04-2021 17:50 IST
The European Union, through the European Commission, and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), has agreed to provide EUR 60 million to the European Investment Bank and African Development Bank's joint Boost Africa initiative, enabling it to support higher-risk investment.
"I am proud that the European Union is extending its commitment to Boost Africa. This initiative shows how Africa and the European Union can work together to build a more prosperous future, by mobilising the younger generations. Young African entrepreneurial talent is thriving. Boost Africa is there to help them in two ways: supporting financially their business projects and also accompanying them in the difficult process from design to implementation. We see opportunities in many different innovative sectors, from health to sustainable energy and digitalisation, many of them critical in the context of the COVID 19 crisis. Overall, this is a great example of our Team Europe approach; bringing in all EU forces and partnering with local institutions to make the biggest impact in Africa", said Koen Doens, European Commission Director-General for International Partnerships.
"Scaling up specialized financing is essential to grow business skills and drive innovation across Africa. Over recent years, Boost Africa has contributed to improved financing and providing much needed hands-on support to future African business leaders. The new OACPS-EU contribution to Boost Africa seeks to enhance the competitiveness of our private sector at a time of unprecedented challenges as a result of the uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 pandemic." said H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS)."
"Together the EIB and AfDB welcome new European Union and OACPS support for Boost Africa that will scale up activity by specialist funds across the continent, unlock involvement by new investors and allow new fund partners to participate. Together Team Europe and African partners are ensuring that Boost Africa makes an even bigger difference in the years ahead," said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.
"Africa's future growth will be determined by the youth. They are our present, our tomorrow and our future. I strongly believe that strengthening Boost Africa with the new European Union and OACPS backing will equip them with the much-needed tools to leap into entrepreneurship. The program will help Africa's youth build their own path to success and turn the current unprecedented COVID-19 challenges into opportunities," said Solomon Quaynor, Vice President Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization of the African Development Bank.
Four years after its launch, Boost Africa has created jobs and unlocked economic growth across Africa and helped to transform access to entrepreneurial finance. The Boost Africa initiative is providing EUR 300 million to support targeted financing, provide technical assistance and share best practice for tech start-up companies, nature conservation, agriculture innovation and entrepreneurs across the continent.
Created by the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank and driven by hands-on investment fund experts on the ground, Boost Africa is unlocking opportunities for hundreds of young entrepreneurs to drive innovation across Africa.
Scaling up Boost Africa will ensure that specialist investment in innovation and technology can be increased and support sectors most vulnerable to economic, social and health challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
EUR 60 million from EU and OACPS to strengthen high-growth investment
The new European Union and Organisation of ACP States' commitment will enable higher levels of risk for individual investments made by fund partners and support technical assistance to further strengthen entrepreneurial skills across Africa.
The new European Union junior tranche financing follows EUR 70 million provided by the European Investment Bank and EUR 50 million from the African Development Bank when Boost Africa was created four years ago.
It is estimated that Boost Africa will leverage more than EUR 1 billion of overall investment with additional financing provided through third party public and private fund partners, and alongside financing mobilised by final beneficiaries.
Enabling specialist investment to back even more entrepreneurs across Africa
Boost Africa provides equity investment to increase investment by venture capital, business angel and seed funds across Africa. This is supported by technical assistance that provides business training and best practice is shared between established African entrepreneurs and emerging innovators.
The European Union's involvement will allow Boost Africa to support funds that invest in higher-risk companies, entrepreneurs with a limited track record, and businesses in fragile economies.
Helping Africa's youth and women to become entrepreneurs
Boost Africa is enabling change and creating opportunities across Africa by targeting investment that backs young and female entrepreneurs, first time teams and backing businesses created by Africans who have studied abroad.
75% of the overall investment by Boost Africa will provide opportunities for young people, and women will benefit from more than 50% of new jobs created by companies backed by Boost Africa.
Transforming venture capital financing across Africa
Since its launch in November 2016 Boost Africa has supported high-impact investment across the continent by venture capital partners based in Dakar, Abidjan, Nairobi, Lagos and Tunis.
Boost Africa has helped African innovation companies involved in agribusiness, FinTech, e-commerce and cybersecurity are driven to expand. The African Development Bank's Innovation & Entrepreneurship Lab, part of Boost Africa's technical assistance support, has identified and delivered support to 1,080 business organisations and trained 3,267 business owners from 32 African countries.
Boost Africa has also backed investment in nature conservation, climate technology, domestic tourism and food security.