Internal Strategy to Generate Africa’s Wealth – TechCabal

In 2021, a report by UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2022 showed that the Foreign Direct Investment inflow into Africa grew to $83 billion, which was an increase of 1.1% compared to 2020. This shows that the tentacles of foreign investment are vigorously creeping into the goldmine of Africa’s startup ecosystem, and our best strategy to protect resources and profit is to make sure the in-flow of capital for the ecosystem is not outsourced to other continents.

Hence, Ventures Park, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Timbuktoo, organized an ecosystem engagement event in Abuja held on Monday (15th August 2022). In a conversation at the soiree, the focus spun around ecosystem funding, cultivating innovation through education, talent, and governmental policy. The speakers were absolutely remarkable.

Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin – the Chief Innovation Officer and Astria Fataki – an Ecosystem Specialist at UNDP, were on the panel together with Cynthia E Chisom – Advisory Board member at Futurize, Ife Adebayo from the Office of Special Assistant to the Vice President on Innovation, and Jayeola  Okuazun – the General Manager of Ventures Park, who moderated the panel.

During the session, Dr. Eleni passionately shared how Africa needs to change the narrative because no economy depends on foreign capital to grow. She said “When the ecosystem depends solely on foreign capital, here are some of the disadvantages:

  • Africa founders will be stuck on building ideas that are familiar to the foreign investors
  • Not necessarily solving local problems
  • Investors will only invest in what is familiar to them because that’s the only way to secure their funds, easily convert them to profit, and build trust. 

Her goal to prevent huge losses in the future is to strategically harness local capital and resources and build a global market, which is one of the intriguing cores of Timbuktoo. She said “Let the universities focus on teaching the technicality for industry (both local and global) and let the people creatively find their way to innovation.

Cynthia contributed generously by stating that startups need to be resilient in their approach to business. It is not a who-finishes-first race. It is a journey that requires a lot of hard work and consistency. She said, ”when there is consistency, growth is at the door”. The other way this will work is when there is an enabling environment set by the government, in terms of policies and regulations. She added that “the government should design a funding model that is more specific to Africa or a nation. The focus is not just to build something that follows the ongoing Venture Capitalists’ (VC) model, the goal is to help the nation build trans-generational businesses that last more than a century by …….