Tayo Akinyemi

Two New African Venture Funds

dollar signsTwo new funds to facilitate private sector development in Africa are being raised as we speak.

The first, the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, is the result of a Commission for Africa recommendation. It seeks to ?catalyze the private sector to innovate and find profitable ways of improving market access for the poor–especially in rural areas. The ACF will focus on stimulating innovation in agricultural markets and deepening access to financial services.? (AECF concept summary, http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/aecf-pcn.pdf)
The Fund will assemble a portfolio of sixty ventures and grant $150,000 to $1.5 million in investment that will be complemented by a matching contribution by the applicant. Donors who have signed on include the UK’s Department for Development (DFID), African Development Bank, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The fund will be up and running in 2008. (http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/pressreleases/aecf-launch.asp)Next up is the Overseas Private Investment Company’s (OPIC) African Social Development Fund. ?The OPIC is inviting proposals from experienced private equity fund managers for the formation and management of one or more investment funds that will invest in Africa. OPIC will provide financing for funds generally ranging between $25 million and $150 million in total capital. More info here.

The dual goal of the fund is to generate social returns for Africans and financial returns for investors. The ASDF will support proposals involving SMEs, enterprises that foster ?social development, provide access to energy, and provide goods and services to rural or underserved markets.?

The deadline for proposal submission is 5 p.m. EST August 8, 2007.