Osinbajo steers Timbuktoo strategy to unlock $1 billion for African startups, 10 million jobs

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, leading the cohort of professionals at the Timbuktu strategy meeting

• Unites innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers to revolutionise Africa’s startup ecosystem

By Emmanuel Babafemi

Monday, May 6, 2024 — Former Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, took the helm at the Timbuktoo Strategy Retreat, a pivotal gathering that brought together a diverse cohort of innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and development experts.

Making a statement about the retreat via his social media on Monday, May 6, 2024, Prof. Osinbajo, emphasised the significance of the event, stating, “The Timbuktoo Strategy Retreat was an exciting engagement with a diverse group of innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and development experts to further shape the execution strategy for the #timbuktoo initiative, the World’s largest single initiative to support Africa’s innovation ecosystem.”

During the retreat, he said, discussions revolved around the ambitious Timbuktoo initiative, as Prof. Osinbajo, the Global Advisor of Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), elaborated, “The Timbuktoo initiative will strengthen the start-up and entrepreneurship ecosystem across Africa by mobilising and investing US$1 billion of catalytic and commercial early-stage risk capital to create 10 million dignified new jobs.”

This bold plan aims to catalyse economic growth and empower millions across the continent through sustainable job creation and innovation.

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Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’s leadership in spearheading this strategic retreat underscores his commitment to driving positive change and fostering a thriving innovation ecosystem in Africa.

The Timbuktu initiative stands as a beacon of hope for the future, promising to not only create jobs but also to empower a new generation of entrepreneurs and drive economic progress across the African continent.

Prof. Osinbajo, who has been appointed as the Guardian of the Timbuktoo Africa Innovation Foundation, in this role, is responsible for ensuring that the foundation meets its objectives.

He is a Global Advisor to the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), which is supporting the Timbuktu initiative through its mission of accelerating clean energy deployment in developing countries.

Recalling the recent launch of Timbuktoo was a significant event that took place during the 24th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) spearheaded this initiative alongside African leaders, including President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Wamkele Mene.

Prof. Osinbajo, who was also in attendance, met with President Kagame on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January 2024 to discuss the Timbuktoo initiative, indicative of his high-level engagement and advocacy for the initiative.

The launch, among others, aimed to introduce the ambitious “Timbuktoo” initiative, which is positioned as the world’s largest financing facility designed to support Africa’s startup ecosystem by mobilising and investing US$1 billion of catalytic and commercial capital to transform 100 million livelihoods and create 10 million dignified new jobs across the continent.