Top African fund managers come together to support Africa’s tech innovation boom
Boost Africa Technical Assistance Facility and AfricaGrow Technical Assistance Facility hosted 40 leading fund managers from select African investment funds for an in-person programme held at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.
The aim of the programme is to engage in dialogue and extend expertise in leading Africa’s exponential growth in the tech venture capital (VC) space. The ‘Africa Venture Finance Programme’ is designed specifically for VC fund managers investing in early and growth-stage technology companies in Africa. The week-long course focused on the sharing of best practice and peer-to-peer knowledge, and provide cutting-edge insights and learning opportunities in all relevant aspects of fund management.
In total, 15 funds were represented, with participants including fund managers from AfricInvest, Knife Capital, TL Com Capital, Ventures Platform Fund, Janngo Capital, Atlantica Ventures and others. Reflecting the industry-wide need for improved women’s inclusion at senior levels, more than half (62%) of participant fund managers are women.
Fund managers also had the chance to interact with business leaders, industry experts as well as representatives from development finance institutions (DFIs) such as the European Investment Bank and DEG Invest.
The African tech ecosystem has seen staggering growth in recent years, tripling in size from 2020 to USD 5.2 billion in 2021. However, the proportion of African-led startups receiving significant funding remains woefully low, remaining in the single digits. In addition to its intrinsic benefit, locally-led leadership is critical in channelling VC investment towards innovations that effectively address challenges faced within and outside Africa. African start-ups have proven to be competitive, profitable, and world-class when equipped with support and expertise from investors and fund managers who truly understand their value and growth potential.
This programme brought together African fund managers at the forefront of the continent’s unique growth trajectory, leveraging their own expertise as well as that of critical ecosystem stakeholders to usher in the African-led unicorns of tomorrow.
“The EIB is committed to supporting high impact innovation investment around the world. We are pleased to support the Boost Africa programme that is sharing investment best practice to strengthen the lasting impact of investment partners across Africa.” Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank
“We are incredibly excited to be convening a group of the leading African Venture Capital Funds for this course in Oxford. During the week, participants will engage with global VC experts, Oxford faculty and most importantly, each other. We are hopeful that the course contributes to a strengthening and connecting of the African VC ecosystem.” Aunnie Patton Power, Program Director, Oxford Saïd Business School
“Both AfricaGrow and Boost Africa aim to have a catalytic effect on the emerging African start-up ecosystem, by investing in and supporting VC funds in Africa. This week at the Oxford Saïd Business School is quite unique in bringing together 40 of Africa’s most relevant investors and will definitely help in furthering the conversation on how we can ensure the most promising founders on the continent have a fighting chance to start and grow their businesses.” David van Dijk, Team Leader, Boost Africa Technical Assistance Facility
EIB Global is the EIB Group’s new specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world.
The Boost Africa Technical Assistance Facility provides bespoke support to strengthen the core professional and operational skills of partner fund managers and their investees to realise growth potential among innovative tech start-ups and high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Facility is funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, through the 11th European Development Fund.
The funding is managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and implemented by Adam Smith Europe, part of the Adam Smith International Group. The Technical Assistance Facility sits under the broader Boost Africa programme, a joint initiative launched by the EIB and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to enable and enhance entrepreneurship and innovation across Sub-Saharan Africa.
AfricaGrow is a fund of funds domiciled in Germany, which aims to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups on the African continent by investing in pan-African regional and country-specific private equity and venture capital funds with proven track records and capacities. The Fund intends to have a catalytic effect on the emerging and dynamic African SME and start-up ecosystem, and thus contribute to the promotion of jobs and income, as well as strengthening sustainable economic growth.
As a legally independent entity, AfricaGrow is a central instrument of the Compact with Africa (CwA) initiative, which was launched in 2017 under the 50 German G20 presidency. The technical assistance facility is funded by KfW on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), while the fund is managed by Allianz Global Investors and advised by DEG Impact GmbH.