The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has unveiled the “Timbuktoo” initiative during the World Economic Forum in Davos. This initiative aims to raise $1 billion with the goal of transforming the lives of 100 million people and generating 10 million jobs, with Rwanda hosting the program. The launch of this initiative comes at a time when funding in the African technology ecosystem is experiencing a decline, with a 36% decrease in 2023, reaching its lowest point since 2020. Venture capital investments in countries like Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria have been primarily focused on fintech.
While specific details regarding the implementation of the “Timbuktoo” initiative are still being defined, our guest this week is Ahunna Eziakonwa, the director of the UNDP regional office for Africa. Eziakonwa describes “Timbuktoo” as the largest public and private initiative aimed at supporting the start-up ecosystem in Africa. The initiative is characterized by its pan-African approach.
In other news, Shell has made a significant move by selling its onshore operations in Nigeria’s Niger Delta to a consortium of companies for $2.4 billion. This decision marks a crucial step for Shell in reducing its exposure in the region. The assets being sold include 15 onshore mining concessions and three shallow water operations, which are predominantly owned by Nigeria’s national oil company, NNPC. Shell’s plan is to shift its focus to deepwater and integrated gas businesses in Nigeria following the sale, which has raised concerns among activists in the Niger Delta regarding potential environmental impacts.
Furthermore, Cameroon is undertaking agricultural recovery efforts centered around wheat production. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to a significant increase in wheat prices in Russia, affecting Cameroon’s heavy reliance on Russian wheat, which accounts for 65% of the country’s wheat imports. As Russia is the primary supplier, covering almost 55% of the market, Cameroon has taken steps to revive wheat production in Wassandé in order to reduce its trade deficit. The country plans to add 200 hectares of wheat production in 2024 and invest over 430 billion CFA francs over the course of 10 years.