The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has announced that it has invested in the Savannah Fund, a technology seed fund in Africa.

The investment is aimed at increasing lending to start-ups across sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and companies in high-growth sectors.

IFC led the fund’s first close by investing Ksh. 322,950,000 ($3 million) in the Ksh. 2,691,250,000 ($25 million) fundraising. The Women’s Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), invested an additional Ksh. 53,825,000,000 ($500,000). This is Savannah Fund’s second seed fund.

The fund will provide early-stage funding to start-ups in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, with an eye on expansion to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, as well as Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in West Africa. The fund will invest in companies that support development at the bottom of the pyramid in sectors including fintech, education, logistics and e-commerce, healthcare, and agritech.

“Savannah Fund II will continue its long-term mission to partner with ambitious founders building start-ups that will scale across Africa. We’re especially bullish on start-ups that have the potential to scale beyond the continent and that can expand into Silicon Valley and emerging markets like South East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America,” said Mbwana Alliy, Savannah Fund’s Managing Partner.

Also commenting on the investment, Kevin Njiraini, IFC’s Regional Director for Southern Africa and Nigeria said, “Early-stage funding is vital to enable more of Africa’s emerging and growing tech founders to grow their businesses and fuel the transformation of Africa’s Internet economy. By partnering with Savannah Fund, we can help more entrepreneurs to access funding.”

Africa’s digital economy could be worth Ksh. 19.377 trillion ($180 billion) by 2025, and start-ups are a critical piece of this growth. Venture capital investments in start-ups in Africa in 2020 totaled around Ksh. 150.71 billion ($1.4 billion).