AfricInvest, Bpifrance team up on French African Fund

The €77m fund will invest in SMEs in both Africa and France

French investor Bpifrance and African private equity firm AfricInvest have teamed up to create the first cross-border investment fund to focus on small and medium-sized businesses in both Africa and France.
 
The €77 million French African Fund will be managed by AfricInvest and has a 10-year fund life.
 
Its investors include Bpifrance, two French private sector groups – Société Générale and Orange – and French development finance institution Proparco.
 
Additionally, 25 percent of the fund's capital comes from African investors, including the Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale de Côte d'Ivoire; the Moroccan insurance company Saham; Financecom, a Moroccan industrial and financial group; and the Central Bank of Kenya Pension Fund. The fund also received commitments from private investors from Kenya and Nigeria, as well as AfricInvest itself.
 
The French African Fund will invest in mid-cap companies with “significant growth potential, using an entrepreneurial medium- to long-term approach to value creation”, AfricInvest said. As well as providing financial support, the firm will help the French teams in their strategic development in Africa, and assist the African companies with their expansion into France and the Europe more broadly.
 
“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,” Benjamin Peternot, Bpifrance's fund of funds executive director, said in a statement.
 
“The quality of AfricInvest's experience-through its diverse team based in France and across Africa-as the 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.”
 
The fund will invest half its capital in French businesses and half in African businesses, generally through minority stakes. In addition to financial returns the fund will focus on the impact of its investments on companies' governance, transparency, employment creation and social and environmental values, AfricInvest said.
 
AfricInvest also co-manages a Franco-Tunisian fund alongside French mid-market private equity firm Siparex. The Fonds de Co-Localisation Franco-Tunisien (FCFT) held a first and final close on €20 million in February 2016, and will finance Tunisian and French SMEs with high growth potential to develop their activities in both countries.