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 startups to “grow them into scalable ventures that can attract mainstream equity and debt financing.”
The institution said in a statement that it will also use the sector-agnostic platform to work closely with other World Bank members to drive regulatory reforms, sectoral analysis and other changes that can grow business ecosystems. venture capital in these regions.
IFC will also leverage for more capital from other development institutions and the private sector. It has so far received additional support of $50 million from the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window Blended Financing Facility, which de-risks investments in low-income countries.
“Supporting entrepreneurship and digital transformation is essential for economic growth, job creation, and resilience,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s managing director, in a statement shared with TechCrunch .
“IFC’s Venture Capital Platform will help technology companies and entrepreneurs expand during a time of capital scarcity, creating scalable investment opportunities and supporting countries’ efforts to build transformative technological ecosystems. We want to help develop home-grown innovative solutions that are not only relevant to emerging countries but can also be exported to the rest of the world,” he said.
IFC’s focus regions continue to receive a small percentage of global capital funding, and the institution hopes to help close this gap that has been exacerbated by funding cuts fueled by macroeconomic headwinds.
The new platform adds to IFC’s Startup Catalyst Program, which is also part of its investments and efforts to leverage technology ecosystems in Africa, the Middle East, the Central Asia and Pakistan.
The institution has so far made direct investments in Twiga Foods, a Kenyan technology food distribution platform; TradeDepot, a B2B e-commerce startup that connects brands with retailers; and Toters, an on-demand delivery platform in Lebanon and Iraq. It plans to use the platform to invest in regions beyond major hubs such as Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and South Africa.