United Capital, others create €77 million fund to support African SMEs

18 Jan 2017
Financial Nigeria


The Franco-African Investment Fund aims to accelerate the growth of both African and French SMEs with development projects in each region.

Oluwatoyin Sanni, Group Chief Executive Office, United Capital Plc

United Capital has signed an agreement with several global financial institutions to create a €77 million Franco-African Investment Fund (FFA) targeted at boosting small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). The investment firm said on Tuesday that the fund aims to accelerate the growth of both African and French SMEs with development projects in each region.

“United Capital is committed to expanding its investment horizon and identifying prime opportunities to grow returns for its investors not just in Nigeria but on the African continent,” said Oluwatoyin Sanni, United Capital’s Group CEO. “The purpose of the fund aligns with what United Capital seeks to achieve in Africa.”

The agreement to set up the fund was signed in Bamako, Mali, on Saturday at the sideline of the Franco African Summit, which was witnessed by the Malian  President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande amongst other global leaders in the private and public sectors. Bunmi Akinremi, Deputy Group CEO of United Capital Plc, signed on behalf of United Capital, a limited partner on the French Africa Fund.

Other investors in the FFA include: Societe Generale, Orange, BpiFrance, Africinvest, Caisse Nationale de Prevoyance Sociale of CDI, Proparco (AFD), SAHAM from Morocco, Financecom, the pension fund of the Central Bank of Kenya and other private investors in Kenya. The fund is sponsored by BpiFrance and Africinvest.

The fund will be split into half, with 50 per cent to be invested in French SMEs with interest in doing business in Africa while the other 50 per cent will be invested in African SMEs. The FFA will have an investment span of 10 years.

In addition to financial performance, the FFA will ensure its investments have positive impacts in terms of governance, transparency, job creation, and respect for social and environmental values.

“The French government wants to explore growth markets and Africa has been identified as another area of growth. United Capital is keen to encourage the expansion of economic opportunity for Africa,” Akinremi said.

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