Southern African cleantech fund holds first close

The Tchenguiz family, along with three international development funds are the cornerstone investors in The Evolution One Fund, which has raised 40 percent of its targeted R1bn total.

Inspired Evolution Investment Management, an investment boutique based in South Africa and the UK, has held the first close on what the firm says is Southern Africa’s first cleantech fund.

The Evolution One Fund, which held an initial close of R400 million (€34 million; $48 million), has a target of R1 billion, which the firm intends to reach by July 2009.

“We now targeting a second round of international and local investors,” said executive director of Inspired Evolution, Zuko Kubukeli.

The four cornerstone investors comprise Finland’s international development fund Finnfund, the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (Sifem), World Bank development fund IFC, and Vincent Tchenguiz’s Castleway Properties.

The fund will invest between R10 million and R150 million per project and will target investments in companies and projects involved in clean energy generation; water purification; waste management; and efficient production technology.

The target geography is the SADC – Southern African Developing Countries – region.

According to a presentation posted on the web, investments in the pipeline include a large scale coconut oil biodiesel project in Mozambique and a joint venture with a coal mining consortium to “develop and finance a suite of around 650MW of electricity through co-generation technologies from large industrial plants throughout South Africa.”

Inspired Evolution’s chief executive Christopher Clarke told PEO the firm is hoping to have completed “one or two” investments for the fund by the end of the 2008.