UNDP launches first Fintech hub in Lagos, unveils pioneer cohort of 42 startups

The unveiling of the Timbuktoo Fintech Hub in Lagos on Tuesday marked a significant boost for the $1 billion initiative by the UNDP, African governments, and the private sector to ignite startup innovation across the continent

UNDP launches first Fintech hub in Lagos, unveils pioneer cohort of 42 startups
Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Regional Director for UNDP Africa during a visit to the governor's office earlier this week.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a fintech hub at the UNDP innovation centre in Lagos, Nigeria as part of its $1 billion initiative to support Africa’s technology startups.  

The Lagos hub, a first in a series of 10 planned technology centres across Africa, will be followed by centres in Kigali, Cairo, Cape Town, Accra, Casablanca, Dakar, and Nairobi. 13 African cities will also be home to University Innovation Pods, serving as launchpads for young minds to transform their ideas into reality through research, development, and venture creation.

At the launch event on Tuesday, 42 startups from 31 African countries selected to participate in the inaugural Timbuktoo Fintech Startup Accelerator Programme were unveiled. The startups will receive equity-free funding of up to $25,000 alongside mentorship and coaching from Africa’s leading industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs.

Some selected Participants of the Timbuktoo Fintech Startup Accelerator Programme

“In recent times, we have seen the dramatic proof of the power of innovation which brings amazing prosperity,” Former Nigerian Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said at the event. He cited the numerous unicorns that have come out of Nigeria and spoke about the prospects of the startups selected for the accelerator programme. 


Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Special Adviser on Innovation and Digital Technology, Olatubosun Alake, expressed support for the hub.

“Innovation cannot happen without government support. Lagos State government has been a pivotal part of this development, providing robust infrastructure and fostering an environment conducive to innovation,” Alake said. “We will engage with lawmakers and policymakers to drive positive policies that will further enhance and sustain this transformative journey.” 

Nigerian Musician Patrick Okorie (Patoranking) was announced as the new UNDP Africa Regional Goodwill Ambassador at the event

Africa is home to the fastest-growing and youthful population in the world, with innovation on a rise within the continent, the $1 billion initiative will encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing, accelerating progress throughout the continent.

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