The International Finance Corporation (IFC) today launched a $225 million venture capital platform to support early-stage startups in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Pakistan.
IFC, a member of the World Bank, will make equity and “equity-like” investments in technology start-ups to “develop them into scalable businesses that can attract mainstream equity and debt financing.”
It will also work closely with other World Bank members using an industry-agnostic platform to support regulatory reform, industry analysis and other changes that could develop the venture capital ecosystem in these regions, the institution said in a statement.
IFC will also raise additional funds from other development agencies and the private sector. To date, it has received an additional $50 million in support from the IDA Private Sector Window’s Blended Finance Facility to de-risk investments in low-income countries.
“Supporting entrepreneurship and digital transformation is critical to economic growth, job creation and resilience,” IFC managing director Makhtar Diop said in a statement shared with TechCrunch.
“IFC’s venture capital platform will help tech companies and entrepreneurs expand in times of scarcity, create scalable investment opportunities, and support countries’ efforts to build transformative tech ecosystems. We want to help develop home-grown innovative solutions that Solutions are not only relevant to emerging countries, but can also be exported to other parts of the world,” he said.
IFC’s focus regions continue to receive a fraction of global capital funding, a gap the agency hopes to help bridge, made worse by a funding slowdown fueled by macroeconomic headwinds.
The new platform adds to IFC’s Startup Catalyst Program as part of its investments and efforts to develop technology ecosystems in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Pakistan.
To date, the agency has invested directly in Twiga Foods, a Kenyan tech food distribution platform; TradeDepot, a B2B e-commerce startup connecting brands with retailers; and Toters, an on-demand delivery platform in Lebanon and Iraq. It plans to use the platform to invest beyond major hubs such as Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and South Africa.