🎙️ This month’s podcast may very well be our most comprehensive yet, with a lineup of 5 guest speakers who spoke to us on the sidelines of the Africa Early Stage Investment Summit (AESIS). 

With such a strong lineup, there’s much to unpack from this month’s conversation, so I’ll share a snippet of some of the most interesting things from two speakers without giving away too many spoilers! 😉 - Olumuyiwa (Writer & Contributor, African Pre-seed Podcast).  

💡 Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, Chief Innovation Officer, UNDP Africa

UNDP’s recently announced Timbuktoo initiative, an ambitious plan to invest in 10,000 African startups with $1 billion over the next ten years. The fund aims to create exponential growth and fix the early-stage risk capital the continent needs to achieve that growth. 

And while foreign investment into Africa’s tech ecosystem has increased exponentially in the last decade, Dr. Mahdin believes the way funding is deployed is fragmented. Timbuktoo can solve these problems. 

What to look out for: Timbuktoo’s thesis and Dr. Mahdin’s thoughts on Africa’s tech ecosystem. 

💡 Aly El Shalakany, Managing Partner, Acasia Ventures

When we talk about the state of funding in Africa’s tech ecosystem today, it’s easy to forget that the continent had humble beginnings. Ben White reminds us that in 2012, just about $12 million was invested across the continent. 

And since we’re on the subject of looking back at how much progress we’ve made, White reminds us that regulators have sat up and paid attention because of the hard work fintech entrepreneurs have done. 

“They would never have imagined ten years ago that this would be a $5 billion industry, and I’m convinced it will be a $50 billion industry in the next few decades on the continent.”

What to look out for: Africa should not follow the Silicon Valley playbook because it works for only Silicon Valley but can learn from the part of others. India is a good example of where Africa can go. We are maybe five to ten years behind because they have accelerated in the last two years. India and Africa have similar population sizes, demographics, problems, and solutions.

💡 Top insights unpacked in the episode:

  • UNDP launching the world's largest initiative to support the African innovation ecosystem [01:25]
  • An African tech ecosystem trend forecast, current developments, and dashboard view of what's coming next [18:18]
  • Fundraising, investor relations, mental health, and startup journey reflections from a founder's perspective [27:53]
  • Africa The Big Deal and Impact Investing in 2024 [40:14]
  • Tracking progress within the African tech ecosystem and priority themes in 2024, and beyond [57:10]


  • Connect with Eleni Gabre-Madhin on Linkedin.
  • Connect with Aly El Shalakany on Linkedin.
  • Connect with Tracy Kimathi on Linkedin.
  • Connect with Maxime Bayen on Linkedin.
  • Connect with Ben White on Linkedin.

Tell us...

  • What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode?
  • What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast?

🔌 Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast