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Top African venture capital investors convene at Oxford Saïd for second edition of Africa Venture Finance Programme

In a collaborative effort, Boost Africa and AfricaGrow proudly present the sophomore edition of the ‘Africa Venture Finance Programme’, scheduled from September 25 to 29 at Oxford’s prestigious Saïd Business School.

This exclusive event will see 40 top fund managers representing nearly 30 leading African venture capital (VC) funds – including names like Partech, TL Com and Novastar – converge to exchange views and best practice for investing in the continent’s booming tech sector. Over half of the attendees are women, underscoring the event’s commitment to fostering and celebrating greater gender diversity in the African VC ecosystem.

This year, we are excited to add an awards ceremony to the programme, recognising standout individuals with accolades such as the ‘Most Promising Fund Manager’ and a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, amongst others. In addition, we will be joined by a notable delegation from development finance institutions (DFIs) including the African Development Bank, Proparco, the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, along with our programme sponsors the European Investment Bank (EIB) and KfW Development Bank.

The African tech ecosystem has seen a surge of capital inflows in recent years, reaching a record $6.2 billion in 2022, up from $1.7 billion in 2020. However, this still represents a mere 1% of global venture funding, well below the continent’s share of global GDP (3%) and its share of global population (17%). The recent global downturn has also affected Africa, with many foreign investors pulling away from investing in the continent. Thus, this programme aims to empower local fund managers to identify and support innovative solutions addressing Africa’s unique challenges, all while creating global impact.

Reflecting on the 2022 programme, Knife Capital partner Keet van Zyl remarked:

“Having been engrossed in the African VC ecosystem for over 15 years, I have been part of numerous conferences, events, think tanks and learning initiatives. None of them as immersive, fun and real as this one. Its influence on the African investment landscape is monumental.”

By bringing together the best minds and networks in the African VC space, Boost Africa and Africa Grow hope to foster a vibrant community of investors who can help unleash the potential of the continent’s next generation of leading tech companies. African start-ups have proven to be competitive, profitable, and world-class when equipped with support and expertise from investors and fund managers who truly understand their value and growth potential.

“The EIB has for many years championed innovative African businesses, through its own financing, by encouraging other investors, but also by providing training and the exchange of best practice for the African business sector. With Boost Africa and other initiatives, we support entrepreneurs and innovators across the continent. I am delighted to see the Africa Venture Finance Programme return for a 2nd edition, bringing together bright minds dedicated to supporting successful African businesses.”

-Thomas Östros, Vice-President, European Investment Bank (EIB)

“It’s always a privilege to welcome Africa’s leading Venture Capital Funds to Oxford. Over the week, attendees will collaborate with global VC experts and Oxford’s renowned faculty. Our goal is clear – to strengthen and connect the African VC community for a brighter future.”

– Aunnie Patton Power, Programme Director, Oxford Saïd Business School

“This gathering isn’t just an event; it’s a testament to Africa’s rising tech potential and the world’s increasing recognition of it. By convening the brightest and most aligned minds, we’re not merely following industry strides; we’re setting the pace for its transformative journey ahead.”

– David van Dijk, Team Leader, Boost Africa Technical Assistance Facility

About Boost Africa

Boost Africa is a joint initiative between the Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to enable and enhance entrepreneurship and innovation across Africa in a commercially viable way. It addresses a current gap in the African market by providing early-stage venture capital paired with skills development.

Boost Africa focuses on financial intermediaries investing in innovative business models and start-ups developing digital solutions across various sectors including, inter alia, information and communication technologies (ICT), healthcare, climate mitigation and adaptation, education, financial services, and manufacturing sectors. There is a particular emphasis on financial intermediaries focusing on youth and women and on sectors where innovation can improve the quality of people’s lives, in particular for lower-income households.

Boost Africa Technical Assistance Facility, part of the broader Boost Africa programme, provides bespoke support to strengthen the core professional and operational skills of partner fund managers and their investees to realise growth potential among innovative tech start-ups and high growth SMEs in Africa. The Facility is funded by the European Commission and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, through the 11th European Development Fund. The funding is managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and implemented by Adam Smith Europe, part of the Adam Smith International Group.

About AfricaGrow

AfricaGrow is a fund of funds domiciled in Germany, which aims to support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups on the African continent by investing in pan-African regional and country-specific private equity and venture capital funds with proven track records and capacities. The Fund intends to have a catalytic effect on the emerging and dynamic African SME and start-up ecosystem, and thus contribute to the promotion of jobs and income, as well as strengthening sustainable economic growth. As a legally independent entity, AfricaGrow is a central instrument of the Compact with Africa (CwA) initiative, which was launched in 2017 under the 50 German G20 presidency. The technical assistance facility is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), while the fund is managed by Allianz Global Investors and advised by DEG Impact GmbH.

The authors take full responsibility for the contents of this article. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the view of the European Union or the European Investment Bank.

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