Tunis, Tunisia, March 25, 2019—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and Tunisia’s Ministry of Communication
Technologies and Digital Economy are launching a ground-breaking program
designed to support high-potential startups and drive innovation across
The two organizations are partnering to create the Maghreb Next 60 Start-ups
Initiative. The program will select up to 60 promising entrepreneurs based
in the Maghreb (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia) and connect them
with mentors, investors, and policymakers. The highlight will be a major
event gathering the start-ups in June 2019. The initiative is designed
to support the Maghreb's budding start-up culture and create opportunities
for entrepreneurs, who often struggle to secure growth capital and have
few places to turn for guidance.
“Supporting entrepreneurship is key to Tunisia’s economic growth,” said
Anouar Maarouf, Minister of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy.
“The initiative presents a great opportunity for startups to connect with
mentors, top business leaders and more importantly to network and build
relationships with other talented entrepreneurs who come from various backgrounds
and nationalities. It will open up markets for Maghreb Youth to unleash
their potential, attract investments and create jobs.”
A recent IFC report, What It Will Take to Create the Next Generation
of Transformational Entrepreneurs in Africa examined the continent’s
nascent startup scene. It found that African startups raised $556 million
in 2017, a more than 50 percent jump from 2016. The continent also had
422 incubators and accelerators in 2018, up from 314 just two years ago.
However, financing remains much more difficult to secure than in other
parts of the world and entrepreneurs often struggle to get sound advice,
which is crucial in the early stages of a start-up’s life cycle. The report
found that with more support, startups could create jobs for Africa’s
fast-growing population, drive innovation, and help fight poverty.
“Maghreb countries are full of promising
entrepreneurs who, with the right support, could build innovative companies,
create much-needed jobs, and solve some of the region most pressing problems,”
said Sufyan Al Issa, IFC’s Regional Head of Operations for the Middle
East and North Africa.
Tunisia, the report found, has embraced the potential of startups. The
country ranks first in the Maghreb on the Global Entrepreneurship and Development
Index, which examines the health of a nation’s startup scene.
The Maghreb Next 60 Startups initiative
is part of a push by IFC to support entrepreneurship and create new markets
in developing countries. Over the last two years alone, IFC has provided
close to $65 million in funding to technology companies and start-ups in
the Middle East and North Africa, while working alongside leading accelerators
and venture funds, like Wamda, Flat6Labs, and Algebra Ventures.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank
Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private
sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide,
using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities
in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more
than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging
the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared
prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org