USAID and Partners Announce New Collaboration to Promote African Innovation and Entrepreneurship

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Public Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of State, African Development Bank, Microsoft, Nokia, infoDev, DEMO, and the World Economic Forum launched a new partnership to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa. The Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA) partnership will mobilize the knowledge, expertise and resources of leading public and private institutions to encourage and enhance innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa.

Planned activities for the LIONS@FRICA partnership include training in business development, promoting access to capital, venture capital roundtables to increase partnership opportunities, and startup-focused events in more than 20 African cities. Six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies over the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, internet usage across Africa has grown faster than on any other continent in the world.

"Today many of the most transformative business models and technology solutions are coming from the African continent. But it's also one of the toughest places to find early stage risk capital," said Ben Hubbard, Director of USAID's Development Credit Authority. "USAID is excited to work with LIONS@FRICA to ensure the most promising African innovators can access the financing they need to become catalysts for growth and employment."

For more information on the partnership, visit

Last updated: January 21, 2015

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