World Bank launches African digital entrepreneurship programme

The World Bank has launched an accelerator for African digital entrepreneurs. The five-month long XL Africa – which includes a two-week residency in Cape Town and the Venture Showcase pitching event – is backed Finland, Norway, and Sweden, XL Africa. Participants will be mentored global and local experts through a tailor-made curriculum, increase their regional visibility, and receive access to potential corporate partners and investors.

"XL Africa aims to put a spotlight on the continent's growing digital economy by scouting for and supporting the most innovative tech start-ups. The success of these ventures will create a demonstration effect that can attract much-needed growth investment in the sector and catalyze scaling of transnational businesses in the region," said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. "

"Digital start-ups are important drivers of innovation in Africa. To scale and spread new technologies and services beyond borders, they need an integrated ecosystem that provides access to regional markets and global finance; pan-African initiatives like XL Africa play a critical role by linking local start-ups with corporations and investors across the continent," said Makhtar Diop, Vice President for the Africa Region at the World Bank.

The programme will collaborate with prominent African investment groups and corporate partners and entrepreneurs will be assisted in attracting early stage capital between $250 000 and $1,5 million. The deadline for applications is 12 June 2017.