French-African Fund Targets Startups, Claims To Be First ‘Cross-Border’ Fund
Investment firms AfricInvest and Bpifrance have announced a joint French-African Fund (FFA) which will aim to invest in top small and medium businesses within Africa and France.
Bpifrance, or Banque publique d’investissement, is a French investment bank formed as a joint venture of two public companies. AfricInvest was founded in 1994 and is part of Integra Group, an investment and financial services company based in Tunisia.
From Venture Burn. Story by Matthew Alexander.
The French-African Fund will be managed by AfricInvest, a pan-African private equity firm focused on mid-cap investments with almost 1 billion euros under management. They have offices in six African countries and more in France.
“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 Bpifrance’s executive director, Benjamin Paternot, in a press release.
Investors subscribed to the fund include Bpifrance, Société Générale and Orange as well as Proparco.
The FFA will look to invest in both French and African SMEs.
A quarter of the fund also came from African investors including Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale de Côte d’Ivoire, Saham, Financecom as well as the Central Bank of Kenya Pension Fund. The fund is also subscribed to by private investors from Kenya and Nigeria as well as AfricInvest.
“The quality of AfricInvest’s experience — through its diverse team based in France and across Africa — as well as the development potential of the African continent, have together attracted the highest quality partners in the private sector both in France and in Africa,” Paternot said.
Along with managing the fund, AfricInvest will help French companies with their expansion into various African markets as well as help African companies expand their reach into France and other E.U. markets.
The FFA has pledged half of its capital towards French SMMEs who plan on entering the African market. The investments will be in the form of equity participation, which will generally be through minority stakes. The other half of the fund’s capital will be for African startups displaying a high potential for growth.
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