Former Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai has introduced a $100 million venture capital fund designed to support Nigerian startups, with a particular focus on the growing tech ecosystem in Kaduna.
El-Rufai aims to initiate the fund with a $2 million commitment, highlighting his dedication to turning aspirations into tangible outcomes. To secure the remaining funding, he plans to persuade investors who trust his judgment for thorough analysis.
These investors are expected to be individuals “who believe in us but don’t have the capacity or the time to do the analysis and evaluation. But they trust our judgment and they will come with us,” El-Rufai explained in a statement.
In a marked transformation from his previous image amid social media scrutiny, El-Rufai recently participated actively in the Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech. He aligned himself with the forum’s vision to direct capital toward critical sectors, achieving Sustainable Development Goals, the African Development Bank’s High 5s, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Teaming up with private sector partners, including Eyo Ekpo of Excredite Consulting Limited, El-Rufai’s primary focus is on Nigeria, but he envisions a broader impact across Africa. Recognizing projections that anticipate Africa supplying a significant portion of the global workforce by 2050, El-Rufai emphasizes the need for increased investments in the younger demographic.
The venture capital fund won’t exclusively target new Nigerian startups; it also aims to address management challenges in established yet viable companies. El-Rufai envisions investing in these companies, resolving issues, and guiding them toward successful exits, stating, “We don’t intend to remain in any business. We want to catalyze growth in these Nigerian startups.”
During the African Investment Conference, El-Rufai expressed a strategic goal to forge continental partnerships and explore opportunities with climate-focused investors. Highlighting Nigeria’s population, entrepreneurial capability, and the innovation of its youth, he asserted the nation’s potential contributions to Africa and the world.
El-Rufai emphasized the importance of mentoring and financing for young people, offering to open doors for them and provide Nigerian startups funding in return for an equity position. The inaugural fund is set to operate for three to four years, with an expected launch early next year, headquartered in Abuja to diversify funding beyond Lagos.
The initiative aims to stimulate interest in startup funding across ecosystems in Kaduna, Abuja, and other regions of the country. Beyond economic gains, the venture signifies a push for technological advancement, innovation, and societal well-being, impacting education, healthcare, and living standards.
El-Rufai’s vision aligns with projections of Africa supplying a global workforce by 2050, suggesting long-term societal changes in education, skills development, and career pathways. The initiative’s collaborative approach seeks continental partnerships, presenting opportunities for knowledge exchange and cultural enrichment.
In summary, El-Rufai’s venture capital fund in Nigerian Startups emerges as a catalyst for positive societal change, shaping a dynamic and inclusive future for Nigeria and the broader African continent.
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