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Afdb Invests $12.5m In Women-owned Smes

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, January 15, (THEWILL) –The Africa Development Bank revealed that it had approved the sum of $12.5m equity investment in Alitheia Identity Fund (AIF) to invest in Small and Medium Enterprises being driven by women.

AIF, a private equity fund managed by Alitheia Identity Managers, is a joint venture between two established women-owned fund management companies, Alitheia Capital Limited of Nigeria and Identity Development Fund Managers of South Africa.

According to a statement by AfDB, AIF intends to raise $100m in two closings to make equity investments in high-growth established SMEs, with emphasis on women-managed SMEs in 10 African countries.

The countries are Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Nigeria.

According to Stefan Nalletamby, Director, Financial Sector of the Development Department, AfDB, “Through the investments made over the life of this fund, it is expected that over 12,000 jobs will be created and over 50 per cent of the jobs created will be permanent.

“Furthermore, more than 50 per cent of the jobs created will be occupied by women and this investment will provide scarce medium to long-term capital to at least 30 indigenous SMEs.”

He explained that it would provide capital of between $2m to $5m to high potential mid-sized companies in target countries and would transform them into local and regional market leaders.

According to Nalletamby, AIF is expected to yield financial returns in high growth sectors such as agriculture, agro-processing, and manufacturing across targeted countries.

AfDB's Operations Vice President in charge of Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Private Sector, Solomon Asamoah, declared that, “Accelerating women's financial inclusion requires bold and sustained action to advance women's economic opportunities and rights to ensure that they can meaningfully participate in the economy without undue constraints and barriers that limit their progress.”

Story by David Oputah