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15th Annual AVCA Conference: African Development Bank promotes private investments in Africa


The Annual African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) Conference is the world’s largest private equity gathering, attracting investors from private equity funds, venture capital and the private-sector industry who collectively manage over US $1.5 trillion in assets. The 15th edition, on the theme “Championing Private Investment in Africa”, was held in Marrakech, Morocco, from April 22-24, 2018.   

The forum was an exceptional opportunity to recall the African Development Bank as a key player in supporting the emergence of and providing assistance to fund managers to attract more commercial investors into the African private equity space. Wale Shonibare, the institution’s Director of Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, reminded the audience of the Bank’s dedication to developing private investments in Africa through its High 5 priority areas: “The Bank has been playing a catalytic role in the private equity industry in Africa through its participation in financial institutions and funds to finance development projects in areas related to the Bank’s High 5 priorities: Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.”

The Bank is one of the largest private-equity investors in Africa with the most diversified portfolio and market knowledge and deploys equity by participating in financial institutions and private equity funds to be a catalyst for development.

The Bank’s private-equity achievement has been to maintain the momentum of helping to significantly strengthen the financial institutions in regional member countries to on-lend to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the real sector and to scale up impact investing to further increase development impact. Kodeidja Diallo, Director of Non-Sovereign Operation and Private Sector Support, emphasized, “The committed portfolio of equity investment has grown steadily from US $71 million in 1997 to US $1.45 million as at the end of 2017.”

The Facility for Energy Inclusion roundtable organized by the Energy Supply Department presented the US $500-million debt platform and the new equity platform that will invest a mix of local and foreign currency in small-scale renewable energy projects. Diallo observed, “The Bank’s participation as strategic and anchor investor is crucial to support SMEs, growth companies and projects emphasizing the High 5s”. 

Participants emphasized that the Bank and other development finance institutions (DFIs) play a critical role in promoting private equity on the continent and providing comfort to other private and commercial investors and developing a critical mass of local and regional fund managers and private equity fund management capacity in Africa.

The Bank delegation was led by Kodeidja Diallo and Wale Shonibare and was represented by non-sovereign operations teams from Energy, Industrialization, Infrastructure, Agriculture and Finance, all of which seek attractive financial returns and high development impact. The team was involved in several panels, including “Let There Be Light: Power, Renewables, and Infrastructure in Africa” and “The Young Guns: Venture Capital in Africa.”

Through its engagement with AVCA, the Bank promotes interaction among general partners and limited partners engaged in Africa, establishing a culture of collaboration. Its sponsorship and active participation in the event are expected to send a strong signal to the industry worldwide about the meaningful positive results observed in the market, and the Bank’s preference for private equity investment as the basis for growth. The Bank continues to strengthen its partnership with AVCA as the complement institution to reach its triple objectives of profit, people, and planet: commercially viable financing for inclusive and green growth.