French Africa Fund launched to accelerate African SMEs

In Startup

Bpifrance and AfricInvest have announced the launch of the French African Fund (“FFA”), the first cross-border investment fund dedicated to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in both Africa and France.

The fund will be managed by AfricInvest. A pool of diverse investors have subscribed to the fund including Bpifrance, two French private-sector groups—Société Générale and Orange, and Proparco (the AFD group).

Other investors are Proparco, French bank Société Générale and mobile telecoms firm Orange.

Cornerstone of the strategy

“The cornerstone of the strategy for the French African Fund – the first cross border fund between Africa and France – rests in AfricInvest’s ability to help French companies grow in Africa, and at the same time attract African companies to the French market,” said Benjamin Paternot, Bpifrance’s Fund of Funds executive director.

More than 25% of the commitments have come from African investors including the Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance de Côte d’Ivoire, Saham, the Moroccan insurance company, Financecom, the Moroccan industrial and financial group, the Central Bank of Kenya’s pension fund as well as a number of private investors from Kenya and Nigeria. AfricInvest, which will manage the fund, is also committing capital to the fund.

Mid-cap companies

The fund aims to take minority equity stakes in mid-cap companies in France and Africa with potential to deliver significant growth.

READ: Vibrant Nairobi to host 2017 Africa Entrepreneurship forum

In addition to providing capital, AfricInvest will support portfolio company growth in each region, helping French firms expand into Africa and African firms to expand into France and the broader European region. Some 50% of the capital is expected to be invested in French firm’s looking to develop markets in Africa.

“The quality of AfricInvest’s experience…as well as the development potential of the African continent, have together attracted the highest quality partners in the private sector in France and Africa.”

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