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Setting Up Vehicles to Fund African Startups Post Pandemic

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is hoping that the digitalization of economies and companies in response to the coronavirus pandemic will help the continent recover quickly from its associated economic shocks. To this end, the finance institution is looking to establish investment banks to accelerate ventures by the continent’s young, tech savvy innovators. Like much of the world, Covid-19 lockdowns in Africa prompted a migration to online platforms, forcing government employees to become more digitally literate, and sectors like telecom and banking to invest in systems to support remote working. The AfDB believes “an all-out effort to harness digital technologies” will boost productivity and employment. If it does, it could help abet a steep decline in economic performance for the region, and cushion the impact of hits taken by the oil, tourism, and mining-dependent countries. “Accelerated digitalization in Africa resulting from pandemic-related containment measures continues to boost the productivity of human and physical capital in the private and public sectors,” said AfDB in its recent Africa regional economic outlook report.