Sunday 11, June 2017 by Matthew Amlôt

AfDB approves EUR 5 million equity investment to support small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a EUR 5 million equity participation in Investisseur & Partenaire pour le Développement two (IPDEV.2), to support Small Growing Businesses (SGBs) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Mali, Niger, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, DRC, Ghana, and Madagascar are among the targeted countries.

IPDEV.2 is an innovative impact investment company launched by Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) the Manager, to finance and support SGBs1, startups at the base of the pyramid of SMEs.

IPDEV.2 plans to launch 10 investment funds in selected Low Income Countries through which it will provide equity, quasi equity and debt to more than 500 SGBs with investment needs ranging from EUR 30,000 and EUR 300,000 over the next decade translating to 15 000 jobs to be created of which 30 per cent will be for women. IPDEV.2 is a 3rd generation investment company which provides financial and technical assistance to SGBs which cannot access classic lenders as they are seen to be too risky despite being great drivers of development and inclusive growth.

The project aims to address job creation needs and SGB financing gaps by kick-starting early-stage investing in African SGBs, through a model that (1) attracts African capital toward the underserved segment of SMEs and strengthens local asset managers capacity (2) builds an impact investment industry in some of the least developed countries in Africa and fosters development of indigenous investment teams capable of financing early stage businesses and (3) accelerates the emergence of entrepreneurship on the continent.

Each investment vehicle will be managed by a local team identified and trained by I&P (the Manager) and have a capitalization of between EUR two and EUR five million, of which IPDEV.2 will take a maximum stake of 30 per cent. The remaining 70 per cent will be raised locally through the Manager’s established network. The 1st close proceeds were used to launch the initial three of the 10 planned vehicles in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Niger. In each case, I&P and the national Fund Managers succeeded in attracting commercial investment from a range of institutional investors in each country including banks, corporates, insurance firms, sovereign funds and other financial institutions such ASKIA, Société Générale Bank, Fonsis, Sonatel, and seasoned entrepreneurs.

The equity participation provides the Bank an opportunity to be part of an innovative program designed to broaden access to finance to a large spectrum of small start-ups in a single investment vehicle and in a flagship initiative well aligned with its High 5s. IPDEV.2 will improve the quality of life of Africans by improving access to finance to the underserved sectors of SMEs, thereby creating jobs for the bottom of the pyramid and fostering local entrepreneurship. It will also promote industrialization and agriculture by increasing productivity of SMEs especially in the small agribusiness sector.

The project is also consistent with the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy (2013-2022) as it involves using a proven vehicle to impact an underserved segment of the population by fostering entrepreneurship, inclusive growth, private sector development, capital markets strengthening, governance and skills development and plays a critical role in job creation and poverty alleviation.

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