Bpifrance unveils French African Fund

Bpifrance has partnered AfricInvest to establish the first cross-border investment fund for France and Africa, with additional support from several corporates and private investors.

France’s public investment bank Bpifrance joined forces with private equity firm AfricInvest on Monday to launch the French African Fund, the first cross-border vehicle for France and Africa.

The size of the vehicle has not been disclosed.

The majority of the money has been provided by Bpifrance and Proparco, the development financial institution part-owned by French development agency AFD, as well as financial services firm Société Générale and telecoms firm Orange.

More than 25% of the capital has been supplied by AfricInvest alongside state-owned social security agency Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale de Côte d’Ivoire, public financial institution Central Bank of Kenya’s Pension Fund, insurance provider Saham and conglomerate Financecom as well as private investors from Kenya and Nigeria.

The fund will be managed by AfricInvest, which has a total of approximately €1bn ($1.1bn) under management and operates offices in Paris, Algiers, Abidjan, Casablanca, Lagos, Nairobi and Tunis.

The French African Fund will back small and medium-sized enterprises across France and Africa, with a view of helping them expand to the respective other continent and half the capital allocated to each. AfricInvest will also seek to facilitate partnerships with commercial, financial, industrial and technological actors.

Benjamin Paternot, executive director for fund of funds at Bpifrance, said: “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.

“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.”

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