IFC launches $225M platform to back early-stage startups in Africa, Central Asia, Middle East • TechCrunch

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) today launched a $225 million venture capital platform to back early-stage startups in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Pakistan.

The IFC, a member of the World Bank, will make equity and “equity-like” investments in tech 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 champion for regulatory reforms, sector analysis and other changes. -or that venture capital ecosystems can grow in these regions.

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IFC will also rally for additional capital from other development institutions and the private sector. It has already received an additional $50 million in support from the Blended Finance Facility of the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window, which de-risks investments in low-income countries.

“Support for entrepreneurship and digital transformation is critical to economic growth, job creation, and stability,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s managing director, in a statement shared with TechCrunch.

“IFC’s Venture Capital Platform will help tech companies and entrepreneurs expand in times of capital scarcity, create scalable investment opportunities and support countries’ efforts to build transformative tech ecosystems. We want that will help develop homegrown innovative solutions that are not only relevant to developing countries but can also be exported to other parts of the world,” he said.

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IFC’s focus regions continue to receive a small percentage of global capital financing, and the institution hopes to help bridge this gap exacerbated by the slowdown in financing due to macroeconomic headwinds.

The new platform complements IFC’s Startup Catalyst Program, which is also part of its investments and efforts to tap tech ecosystems in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Pakistan.

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The institution currently makes direct investments in Twiga Foods, a Kenyan food distribution technology 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 the major hubs such as Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, and South Africa.

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