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    Africa has some of the world's fastest-growing economies and a young, fast-growing population. However, a consistent trend in young graduates leaving or failing to return home from abroad at the end of their studies is an increasing threat for the continent’s social and economic progress.

    Boost Africa, a joint initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), addresses this by creating opportunities for young women and men in Africa. Launched in 2016, the programme received financial support in 2020 from the European Commission and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States Secretariat (OACPS) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

    Boost Africa stems from the belief that supporting entrepreneurship and innovation leads to higher living standards and social progress in Africa. Boost Africa supports affordable solutions for the poorest populations, from access to energy and healthcare to financial services, education and internet connectivity. The programme also supports start-ups to sustain the democratisation of the economy and create opportunities for all.

    Our impact

    By 31 December 2023, we invested €88 million, supporting 15 000 jobs and mobilising close to €400 million new investment. Boost Africa has enabled African companies to become globally competitive by:

    boosting entrepreneurship and innovation across the continent

    creating new and quality jobs

    developing an efficient entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa

    addressing financing gaps at the earliest and riskiest stages of business creation

    developing young entrepreneurs’ skills and expertise

    How Boost Africa works

    The programme supports Africa’s young entrepreneurs, by encouraging them to:

    • create innovative and compelling modern businesses,
    • increase the capacity for these businesses to compete regionally and globally,
    • attract both domestic and foreign investment and diversify investor profile,
    • contribute significantly to job creation and economic growth.

    Boost Africa focuses on youth and women as final beneficiaries. It also supports sectors where digital innovations can improve the quality of people’s lives, especially poorer households, by providing access to affordable products and services. Such areas include investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), agribusiness, financial services and financial inclusion, health, education and renewable energy.

    The programme consists of the following three components:

    Investment programme

    The Investment programme focused on venture capital funds to support the creation of innovative and highly scalable start-ups and small and medium companies.

    It aimed to support ecosystem builders that are able to generate first-rate opportunities in terms of quality, creativity, impact and innovation.

    The EIB invested in six venture capital funds under Boost Africa:

    Through this integrated approach, Boost Africa provides financial capital and developed skills and expertise, helping fund managers and entrepreneurs to effectively deal with the many obstacles that arise when building new funds and companies.

      The programme is now fully deployed.

    Technical Assistance Pool

    The Technical Assistance Pool provides capacity building and disseminates best practices for:

    • investment readiness of intermediaries, especially first-time local fund managers, benefitting from an investment from the Boost Africa envelope, and
    • business and technical training of investee companies/entrepreneurs

    Our technical assistance can support beneficiaries in any of the following areas: market analysis and growth, information technology (IT), talent acquisition, risk assessment and compliance, legal and tax structuring, deal structuring, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) management, investment management training, accounting and auditing, leadership, communication and public relations.

    Entrepreneurship Lab

    The Entrepreneurship Lab (ELab) acts as a catalyst for innovation, knowledge, and partnerships by incubating and piloting promising new ideas. It is open to:

    • entities contributing to the development of entrepreneurship and innovation, such as incubators and accelerators,
    • fund managers, and
    • young entrepreneurs.

    ELab facilitates international linkages and knowledge transfer through partnerships with local or international research centres, universities, corporations and investors. It also seeks to strengthen regional networks of incubators, accelerators, and angel funds and other types of funds supporting innovative start-ups.

    ELab is managed by the African Development Bank.

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    For more than 50 years, the EIB has been the European Union’s international development bank. Our key investments across the world help create stability, promote sustainable growth and fight climate change everywhere.

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