THE World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has launched a $225 million platform that seeks to strengthen venture capital ecosystems in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Pakistan.
IFC said the platform will provide funds that will be invested in early-stage companies that address development challenges through technological innovations in climate, health care, education, e-commerce and agriculture as a means to build the digital economy of the beneficiary countries.
‘Support for entrepreneurship and digital transformation is essential to economic growth, job creation and resilience,’ Makhtar Diop, IFC’s managing director, said in a statement released on Tuesday.
‘IFC’s Venture Capital Platform will help tech companies and entrepreneurs expand during a time of capital shortage, creating scalable investment opportunities and backing countries’ efforts to build transformative tech ecosystems. We want to help develop homegrown innovative solutions that are not only relevant to emerging countries but can also be exported to the rest of the world,’ he said.
Diop said the global lender is seeking to make equity or equity-like investments in firms to make them grow so that they can subsequently attract mainstream equity and debt financing.
According to the IFC, the platform will focus on investments in low-income and fragile countries to help generate a pipeline of credible early-stage companies.