A new angel investment group has launched in Mali with the aim of driving early-stage funding for tech startups in the West African country.
Founded by Suguba, which ran the World Bank’s recent Francophone-focused accelerator programme, and le Réseau de l’Entreprise en Afrique de l’Ouest – Mali (REAO – Mali), a network of Mali’s 40 most influential private sector CEOs, the Mali Business Angel Network (MABAN) will receive technical assistance from the World Bank.
A member-based network, MABAN will target tech and tech-enabled startups for early-stage investments, and is looking at making around five investments per year.
“Mali Angels will focus 100 per cent on turning local promising startups into “Made in Mali” national champions. We are looking at the tech sector and industries that will boost regional trade in West Africa – agribusiness, creative industries and education, among others,” said Suguba co-founder and managing director Issam Chleuh.
Funding for Francophone African startups has historically been less forthcoming than those based in Anglophone countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, in spite of undoubted levels of innovation and prevalent opportunities in such markets. In an attempt to address this, angel investor groups are being established across the region under the auspices of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN), with such groups also recently launched in Senegal, Togo and Benin.
“We believe the unbalance of capital in Francophone Africa should be both tackled at the regional and national level. At the regional level, we need to foster regional integration of our ecosystems because our markets at too small,” said Chleuh.
“At the regional level, we are boosting investment-readiness in our gazelles with programmes such as l’Afrique Excelle or with gatherings such as the Francophone Africa Investor Summit (FAIS).”