Joliba Capital, a private equity firm based in Abidjan, has announced the first close of its Joliba Fund I, raising €55m from commercial and development investors.
The investors include IFC, Proparco, FMO, and LBO France, a French private equity firm.
IFC has announced an equity investment of up to €15m in Joliba Fund I, including an equity investment of up to €7.5m from IFC’s SME Ventures program and an additional €7.5m from the Blended Finance Facility of the International Development Association’s Private Sector Window, which helps de-risk investments in low-income countries.
Joliba Capital, majority-owned by LBO France, is a multi-specialist, multi-country investment company that supports companies in their development in French-speaking Africa. Joliba Fund I will invest in SMEs in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Republic of Congo, Togo, Senegal, and Gabon.
At least 80% of the fund’s investment will go to SMEs in countries eligible for IDA, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries.
Private equity activity in West and Central Africa remains one of the lowest in the world. Private equity fundraising for regional funds in West Africa declined to $20m in 2022 from $234m in 2018, according to the Global Private Capital Association.
Joliba’s investments will focus on sectors such as consumer products and services, financial services, transport and logistics, agribusiness, business services, health care and education.
The fund manager will also provide the SMEs with organizational and operational support, especially in digital transformation and talent management.
Joliba Capital aims to bridge the financing gap in Francophone West and Central Africa. Djalal Khimdjee, Deputy CEO at Proparco, and Damien Braud, Head of Private Equity Africa & Middle East, said: “We’re thrilled to have been able to support Joliba Capital from the very outset with LBO France, and to have IFC and FMO alongside us again.
We are proud of Joliba Capital’s commitment to jointly generate good and sustainable returns and implement ESG best practices to maximize impact notably through the promotion of gender diversity.
We are also very pleased to see LBO France, a top tier French GP support an initiative towards the Africa continent as we hope it will be the first one of many.”
Joliba Capital will work with IFC to develop and implement environmental and social standards.
Hamada Touré and Yann Pambou, Co-Founders of Joliba Capital, said: “We are very proud of this achievement and excited to finally support African SMEs with innovative financial solutions and bridge the financing gap in Francophone West and Central Africa.
We would like to thank our partner LBO France and our investors Proparco, FMO, and IFC for their trust. We look forward to welcoming more commitments from DFIs and institutional investors as we are moving towards our final close.”
Joliba Fund I is a positive development for private equity in West and Central Africa.
It will provide much-needed financing for SMEs in the region, which has traditionally been underserved by private equity.
The fund’s focus on sectors such as consumer products and services, financial services, transport and logistics, agribusiness, business services, health care and education, and its commitment to environmental and social standards, will help drive sustainable economic growth in the region.
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