IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has helped Partech Ventures launch a €100 million fund that is expected to become the largest venture-capital fund focused on digital-technology start-ups in sub-Saharan Africa.
The initiative will help accelerate an ongoing digital transformation that is helping drive economic growth in the region.
IFC’s €15 million equity investment makes it an anchor investor in the Partech Africa fund, which just reached its first close. The transaction marks IFC’s first investment in a mainstream venture capital fund in sub-Saharan Africa, where start-ups in the technology sector face significant funding gaps that limit their ability to grow. This sector is critical to economic growth and prosperity in Africa—digital technology is expected to contribute about $300 billion to the region’s gross domestic product by 2025, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
“Technology can have a huge transformative impact in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has a vast untapped source of entrepreneurial energy,” said Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive Officer of IFC. “Africa’s population is overwhelmingly young—it has lots of people with strong tech skills and innovative ideas that could improve lives. But they lack the necessary funding. We think the Partech Africa fund will make an important contribution to closing this funding gap and driving entrepreneurship and growth.”
Tidjane Dème, General Partner for Partech Africa, said: “With a very hands-on and operational team, closing more than 70 transactions per year, Partech will bring a great value to African founders. Moreover, thanks to our global network of corporate partners, our dedicated business development team will expose African startups to European and U.S. markets, enabling commercial contracts and long-term strategic partnerships.”
The fund will be open to countries across Africa, although eight countries show the strongest need for venture capital: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. It will provide early-stage growth funding—in amounts ranging from €500,000 to €5 million—for start-ups in a variety of sectors. These include financial technology, health technology, and mobile technology.