Timbuktoo launches Pan-African Fintech Hub in Lagos

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation have launched a state-of-the-art Fintech timbuktoo Hub in Lagos, Nigeria. This cutting-edge facility, the first of its kind in Africa, is designed to catalyze innovation, foster collaboration, and drive growth within the Pan-African fintech ecosystem to spur socio-economic development.

Located at the UNDP Innovation Center, the Fintech Hub will serve as a nexus for fintech entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts. It will provide a collaborative workspace for startups and established fintech companies, offering mentorship programs and expert guidance to emerging innovators. The hub will feature both physical and virtual spaces, equipped with advanced technology to enable startups across Africa to build, test, and scale up their impactful solutions.

Speaking during the launch, H.E. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State stated that “the launch of the timbuktoo Fintech Hub today embodies our shared commitment to fostering and driving solutions to Africa’s challenges. The Hub will catalyze efforts to propel the Continent towards a more globalized way of doing business. He further added, “for innovation to happen both government, policymakers and key stakeholders need to collaborate. This collaboration is what will spur the economic development we foresee in Nigeria and across Africa.”

timbuktoo represents a bold partnership between UNDP, African governments, and the private sector, positioning itself as the world’s largest initiative supporting Africa’s innovation ecosystem. It embodies a transformative force and stands as a powerful example of public-private collaboration, poised to reshape the landscape of financial technology and development across Africa.

The launch of the hub marks a significant milestone in the journey towards a more innovative and financially inclusive continent. By nurturing local talents and fostering cross-border collaborations, the timbuktoo Fintech Hub will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of financial technology in Africa. This portrays UNDP’s commitment to harnessing technology for sustainable development.

“Africa is the place where ideas comes from to unite the world. Our innovators are finding solutions to the most pressing global problems. timbuktoo is about changing the way development works and investing in young talents. I invite you all to join and begin to see Africa from the lens of opportunity,” mentioned Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa, during the launch event.

The ceremony gathered key stakeholders—fintech entrepreneurs, investors, regulators, government officials, development partners, and industry experts—to celebrate the hub’s potential to transform technological innovations in the financial services landscape for sustainable development in Africa.

The launch of the hub was followed by the onboarding of the first Pan-African Cohort of Fintech Startups and a Fintech for Development Marketplace. The marketplace showcased innovative financial technologies with the potential to drive economic growth and transformation. This also featured networking sessions, policy dialogues, and fireside chats with key ecosystem stakeholders, creating a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange in the African fintech sector.

The timbuktoo initiative was launched in January 2024 at the World Economic Forum in Davos. timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation is registered and headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda.

Inspired by the historic city of Timbuktu in Mali, it is a multi-stakeholder initiative bringing together governments, the private sector and academia to power Africa’s socioeconomic transformation through innovation. timbuktoo is not about supporting one sector, or one country. It is about bringing together the power of the collective to create the conditions for scale and impact for the whole of Africa.

Guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and powered by UNDP, timbuktoo leverages Africa’s youth, finding them where they are and getting them ready to lead the fourth industrial revolution as a pathway to creating exponential wealth and jobs and thereby impacting communities at scale.

UNDP Africa supports 46 countries in accelerating the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, expediting structural economic transformation for sustainable development, building resilience to shocks, and promoting sound governance, peace and security throughout the continent. Guided by the principle that Africa is not homogenous, UNDP’s Renewed Strategic Offer in Africa is a premier ENABLER and INTEGRATOR for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

In Nigeria, UNDP has been supporting the Government and people of Nigeria in addressing development challenges through strengthening and building institutions that promote inclusive, sustainable development and democratic governance. UNPD collaborates with multisectoral stakeholders to support Nigeria meet her Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promise.

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