The FISEA fund, an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Proparco initiative, has invested €10 million (US$10.6 million) in the first closing of the Meridiam Infrastructure Africa Fund (MIAPF)
The lack of infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa holds back economic growth by 2% every year and saps business productivity by up to 40%. The financing required to bridge this deficit is estimated at US$93 billion a year, meaning there is a financing gap of US$31 billion a year.
MIAPF aims to bridge the investment gap in a key sector for the continent's economic growth and improve people's well-being. The fund will provide financing for basic infrastructure, with a focus on energy (supply, generation, transmission and distribution), transport (roads, rail, ports and airports), water and sanitation (irrigation, water treatment and distribution, desalinization) and health.
The fund will operate on greenfield projects or at a stage prior to development, which traditional investors take little interest in, and offer long investment periods of about 15 years, which have limited availability at local level. The fund has a target size of €300 million and will mainly operate as a majority shareholder.
The fund will benefit from Meridiam's expertise in financing greenfield infrastructure. This company was set up in 2005 and manages three investment funds dedicated to infrastructure in Europe and North America for a total of €2.5 billion. Its investment policy includes high environmental and social standards, as well as a carbon footprint measurement tool for the projects conducted. Thierry Déau, Founding Partner, Chief Executive Officer of Meridiam stated:
"We welcome this partnership with Proparco and AFD Group. The Meridiam Infrastructure Africa Fund will allow essential infrastructure to be built, which is too often put on hold due to a lack of operational capacities for project development. The fact that environmental, social and governance issues will be taken into account right from the very start and throughout the lifespan of projects will be key to the success of this initiative."
Claude Periou, Chief Executive Officer of Proparco, commented:
"We are extremely pleased to be supporting the initiative of a French manager that is recognized for its know-how in the development of greenfield projects. It is in line with FISEA's mandate to participate in Africa's economic and social development. The fund will contribute to reducing energy deficits and improving infrastructure for transport, housing and health in Africa."
More generally, this operation will contribute to economic growth in Africa. It is estimated that the Meridiam fund will launch works amounting to some €3 billion in Africa and will contribute to creating employment for the construction and operation of this new infrastructure.