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Joliba Fund I Hits First Close at €55m

Anna Lyudvig
Sept. 13, 2023, 5:18 p.m.
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Abidjan-based private equity firm Joliba Capital has announced the first close of its Joliba Fund I, raising €55m from commercial and development investors including IFC, Proparco, FMO and the French private equity firm LBO France.

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Abidjan-based private equity firm Joliba Capital has announced the first close of its Joliba Fund I, raising €55m from commercial and development investors including IFC, Proparco, FMO and the French private equity firm LBO France.

IFC has announced an equity investment of up to €15m in Joliba Fund I, including an equity investment of up to €7.5m from IFC's SME Ventures program and an additional €7.5m from the Blended Finance Facility of the International Development Association's Private Sector Window, which helps de-risk investments in low-income countries. 

"Through funds like Joliba and our SME Ventures program, we are helping SMEs – most of them family-owned – improve margins, build brands, and create jobs," said William Sonneborn, IFC's Global Director for Disruptive Technologies, Creative Industries, and Funds. 

"In many cases, especially in countries with nascent private equity ecosystems, IFC is helping create markets as our support help attract other investors with similar interest to create new sources of equity financing for SMEs."

Majority-owned by LBO France, Joliba Capital is a multi-specialist, multi-country investment company that supports companies in their development in French-speaking Africa.

Joliba Fund I will invest in SMEs in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Republic of Congo, Togo, Senegal, and Gabon. 

Joliba's investments will focus on sectors such as consumer products and services, financial services, transport and logistics, agribusiness, business services, health care and education.

The fund manager will also provide the SMEs with organizational and operational support, especially in digital transformation and talent management. 

IFC will work with the fund manager to develop and implement environmental and social standards.

Djalal Khimdjee, Deputy CEO at Proparco, and Damien Braud, Head of Private Equity Africa & Middle East, said: “We're thrilled to have been able to support Joliba Capital from the very outset with LBO France, and to have IFC and FMO alongside us again. We are proud of Joliba Capital's commitment to jointly generate good and sustainable returns and implement ESG best practices to maximize impact notably through the promotion of gender diversity. We are also very pleased to see LBO France, a top tier French GP support a initiative towards the Africa continent as we hope it will be the first one of many.” 

Private equity activity in West and Central Africa remains one of the lowest in the world. 

At least 80% of the fund's investment will go to SMEs in countries eligible for IDA, the World Bank Group's fund for the poorest countries. 

Private equity fundraising for regional funds in West Africa declined to $20m in 2022 from $234m in 2018, according to the Global Private Capital Association.

Hamada Touré and Yann Pambou, Co-Founders of Joliba Capital, said: “We are very proud of this achievement and excited to finally support African SMEs with innovative financial solutions and bridge the financing gap in Francophone West and Central Africa. We would like to thank our partner LBO France and our investors Proparco, FMO, and IFC for their trust. We look forward to welcoming more commitments from DFIs and institutional investors as we are moving towards our final close.”

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