West Africa’s growing startup ecosystem is built for small, growing and high-impact companies



Earlier this year, Accion Venture Lab, Newid Capital and a group of angel investors backed a $1.25 million seed round for Lidya, a Nigerian startup that helps small businesses in the West African nation build credit and access finance.

The deal highlights a relative boom in the country, as domestic and international investors focus on local entrepreneurs solving unmet consumer needs in energy, financial services and agriculture.

The fast-growing West African startup landscape now includes a web of investors, accelerators, networks and events targeting entrepreneurs solving local and regional problems.

An updated guide from Ventureburn, an emerging-market tech publication, offers a guide to the West African startup landscape.

Venture firms include such familiar names as Omidyar Network, Acumen Fund and Village Capital. Accion Venture Lab is actively backing microfinance, fintech and other banking services in the region.

There’s VestedWorld, a Liberia- and Chicago-based “micro VC,” investing in sectors including energy and agriculture that are essential to economic growth, and Unique Venture Capital, set up by five Nigerian banks to support small and mid-sized companies.

In private equity, Accra-based Jacana Partners backs small and medium-sized enterprises, and Synergy Capital in Lagos, invests in high-growth companies in underserved sectors in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Lagos Angel Network and Ghana Angel Investor Network are among a handful of angel groups active in West Africa.

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