Make-IT in Africa

We promote digital innovation for sustainable and inclusive development


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Berlin, Germany
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Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative ‘Make-IT in Africa’

Digital entrepreneurship is the driving force for global economic growth and poverty alleviation as we look towards the future. Entrepreneurs have the potential to modernise the economies and societies of their countries, discover innovative solutions to development challenges and create new opportunities for employment.

Make-IT promotes digital innovation for sustainable and inclusive development, focusing on entrepreneurs running early growth phase start-ups. Here, for instance, digital innovation in health, agriculture and energy plays a key role for development and involves applying technologies such as innovative app solutions, internet of things systems, 3D printing, blockchains, and many more.

About Make-IT in Africa

The Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative ‘Make-IT in Africa’ promotes digital innovation for sustainable and inclusive
development in Africa. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements this project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as part of BMZ’s Digital Africa Initiative.

In close collaboration with more than 30 corporate and finance partners, social enterprises, hubs, and networks, ‘Make-IT in Africa’ supports an enabling environment for young entrepreneurs – to enable better access to finance, markets and skills.

Goals and impact

In its four-year project phase (2017-2020), Make-IT supports tech start-ups in their early growth phase and strengthens public and private intermediaries of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The initiative’s objectives are that:
20 key stakeholders from public and private sectors in each supported ecosystem improve their collaborations, creating a stronger and more supportive environment for digital entrepreneurship.

200 digital enterprises receive support from Make-IT and its partners to build and secure 2,000 future-proof jobs.

400 digital enterprises benefit from matchmaking opportunities and international market exposure, to successfully scale their businesses and acquire investments.

Their products and services support millions of users all over Africa in key sectors such as health, agriculture, energy, financial services and smart cities.

Key sectors for Make-IT


Agritech solutions – give millions of smallholder farms better access to markets, weather data, finance and insurance, thus generating income in rural areas.




E-Health solutions – improve medical care and boost the entire health management system, thus saving lives and reducing the spread of disease.




Smart energy solutions – enable internet access, off-grid use of renewable energies and infrastructure. This enables education and business activities until the evening hours.




Fintech solutions – enable mobile phone payments and access to financial and insurance products for all people, especially in rural areas. This is an important step out of poverty.



Key areas of our work

Better access to finance – creating a pan-African “investment pipeline” for tech start-ups and better information about financing opportunities, and connecting start-ups with finance partners. Our collaboration partners include funds, investor networks, development banks and foundations.


Capacity building for growth – preparing tech entrepreneurs for the challenges of managing growth and achieving investment readiness. Jointly with business partners and leading innovation hubs, we established a benchmark for “partners in acceleration”.


Better access to markets – establishing business-to-business and public-private partnerships to provide start-ups exposure and matchmaking opportunities at local and international levels. This includes study tours, trade fairs, B2B events, etc.


Innovation ecosystem support – providing partner institutions, associations and other intermediaries with forums for multi-stakeholder dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity development.


Pan-African milestones

With the partners of the Make-IT Alliance, we focus on

  • Investment pipelines, such as a joint start-up pool where investors can share offers with entrepreneurs
  • Online training based on a “best of” selection of opensource educational material
  • Online deal rooms for pitches and matchmaking for tech start-ups and investors
  • Joint accelerators (e.g. with Airbus, Merck, etc.) to allow for joint innovation of start-ups and corporates
  • Digital Innovation Made in Africa – a showcase series for tech entrepreneurs with high impact
  • Developing a mentorship pool (with VC4Africa) to enable mentor-driven financing and learning
  • Exposure for international visibility of innovation ecosystems and start-ups (e.g. Cebit, Vivatech, Afrolynk, etc.)
  • Pan-African knowledge sharing for innovation hubs and intermediaries (e.g. at Transform Africa, i4policy)