African Innovators Benefit from Timboktoo Fintech Startups

Ekene Okafor, Lagos


Forty-two young innovators from thirty-two African countries have been selected from over 800 applicants in the maiden set of Timbuktoo fintech startups.

The young innovators between the ages of 18 and 35 were in Lagos to witness the launch of the Timbuktoo fintech Hub in the Nigerian commercial city.

Speaking at the launching, the guardian of the Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation and Nigeria’s former vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo believes that this generation of young people is equipped to solve the world’s biggest problems such as shelter and health care.

He said “These young people will build the infrastructure and will provide all that is required to solve the problems of this world. The role of the enablers is critical. The enablers are institutions such as UNDP, the private sector, international institutional private capital, and all other enablers. The role of the enablers is what we celebrate today these enablers are those that will ensure that all of the hopes and dreams of the young people are actualized through training, capacity building and providing the capital to build and acquire technology and also write the regulations that would create the enabling environment, he said.

The former Vice President said Nigeria had in the past five years seen drastic proof of the power of innovation.

“Just here in Nigeria we have at least five uni hubs, Flutter Wave alone is valued at about 3 billion U.S. dollars, Interswitch is valued at over a billion U.S. dollars and Dela is valued at over 1.5 billion. All the founders of these businesses were under 30 when they founded this business. All of them. And here in this room, we have several young people who are under 30, so you can imagine what we are going to see in the coming years. It is the spirit of innovation that will power Nigeria and indeed the Africa of our dreams, Professor Yemi Osibanjo elaborated.

The Lagos state governor, Babajide Sowolu who was represented by the Honourable Commissioner of Innovation, Science and Technology, Mr. Olatubosun Alake said the launch is an important milestone in the journey towards sustainable development.

“There would be a lot of collaborations from Lagos State. We want to celebrate with you and UNDP on the launch of this premier fintech hub. This collaborative effort will see us driving positive and dynamic change, not only in Lagos but in the African continent as well. The tech hub is poised to be a catalyst for innovation in the fintech space, providing a platform for entrepreneurs, startups, and established companies to develop cutting-edge financial solutions.

“This hub will not only support economic activity but also help bridge the gap between the underserved, bringing them financial services, and fostering a more inclusive and equitable economy. Now, our top priority is sustaining economic empowerment as a government. I’m convinced that this hub, together with the Lagos State government, will serve as a catalyst propelling the African continent forward towards a more transformative and globalized way of doing business,” he stated.

The United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, Elsie Attafuah, during a welcome address, said it is time to witness the birth of a new era in innovation and financial inclusion.

She said the UNDP is thrilled to welcome the pioneers’ cohort of 42 groundbreaking fintech startups from 32 African countries.

“These trailblazers are the vanguards of change, ready to redefine financial services and spearhead development across the continent these visionaries are poised to reshape the future of development but in particular the future of fintech bringing new solutions and groundbreaking technologies to the forefront.

Lagos, the fintech capital of Africa is leading an extraordinary transformation of African youths and societies, a movement of growth and an unparalleled future.


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