The united nations development programme has launched a $1 billion innovation fund to support African startups. the “Timbuktoo africa innovation fund” was launched with African leaders during a special session of the ongoing World Economic Forum. the initiative was presented by Rwandan president paul kagame, Ghanaian president nana Akuffo-addo, Secretary General of the African continental free trade area secretariat wamkele mene, and UNDP administrator Achim Steiner. according to a statement from the undp, Rwandan president, paul kagame, during the launch announced an immediate contribution of $3 million to start the ‘Timbuktoo’ Africa innovation fund which will be hosted in Kigali. also commenting during the launch of the fund, ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-addo, said: “for many African countries, our foremost challenge now is to ensure we put in place the right structures to enable young Africans to create innovative and compelling businesses that can contribute significantly to job creation and sustainable economic growth. according to the undp, timbuktoo’s ambition is to mobilize and invest $ 1 billion of catalytic and commercial capital to transform 100 million livelihoods and create 10 million dignified new jobs. it added that what makes Timbuktoo unique is its design, which blends commercial and catalytic capital to de-risk private investment, with a pan-african approach to supporting startups, while also focusing on the whole ecosystem, engaging and deepening the linkages between government policy, universities, corporates, development partners, catalytic partners, and commercial investors.