Former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Monday, announced that his venture capital/private equity firm, Afri-Venture Capital Company Limited, will begin operations in 2024.
In a post on X, El-Rufai said through the firm, he hopes to finance, nurture, and mentor Nigerian innovators and entrepreneurs to become the next Dangote Group shortly.
The former governor said he would be working with private sector partners, including the co-founder of Excredite Consulting Limited, Eyo Ekpo, among others.
“I can confirm that our VC-PE firm, Afri-Venture Capital Company Ltd will by the Grace of God, begin operations initially in Abuja in January 2024 with Jimi Lawal, Hafiz Bayero, Eyo Ekpo and Kabir Yabo as founding directors and initial shareholders. I am privileged to be the part-time Chairman of the Board.
“Please, pray for our success and the Nigerian (and in the near future African) innovators and entrepreneurs we hope to finance, nurture, and mentor to be the Dangote Group of the future,” the former governor wrote on X.
The plan, he said, was to launch a $100 million venture capital fund for startups in Nigeria, particularly those in the Kaduna tech ecosystem, according to BusinessDay.
The PUNCH reports that El-Rufai had taken a break from the public scene after the Senate, in August, refused to confirm his nomination as a minister.
Other nominees rejected include a former Managing Director of Nexim Bank, Stella Okotete (Delta State); and Abubakar Danlandi, a nominee from Taraba State.
El-Rufai was replaced by Abbas Balarabe as a minister after his nomination was rejected by the Senate.
But speaking on the new firm and his plans, El-Rufai said Nigerian youths need mentoring and financing to achieve the needed breakthrough.
“What young people need is essentially mentoring and financing to get things going. They develop the idea and see whether it is viable. And we will open doors for them because they don’t have contact.
“They don’t know or have access to ministers, presidents, or regulatory agencies. We do. We know the minefields that they have to navigate. We know that they need to give them appointments and we can provide them with the startup funding and in return we take an equity position.
“We don’t want to take your business; we want to develop it. But if we take the risk on you, we will take a percentage of the business,” El-Rufai told BusinessDay in Marrakech, Morocco, in November during the Africa Investment Forum.
According to BusinessDay, El-Rufai is willing to stake $2 million of his money for the offtake of the ($100m) fund and plans to convince investors to provide the remaining funding.
“The investors will mostly be those who believe in us but don’t have the capacity or the time to do the analysis and evaluation. But they trust our judgment and they will come with us,” El-Rufai said.