Bpifrance makes equity investments in private equity funds intended for the African continent, which invest in African start-ups, SMEs, and ISEs that exhibit high growth potential.
Through the Averroès funds of funds, Bpifrance invests in private equity funds throughout Africa. These are primarily general-purpose funds with regional or multi-country geographical coverage. By contributing to the structuring of the private equity market in the covered regions, Bpifrance aims to yield the formation of a network of successful companies in Africa, for the benefit of French companies interested in developing in these growing markets.
The Averroès funds of funds are managed by Bpifrance Investissement and are co-sponsored by Proparco (a subsidiary of the French Development Agency (AFD) dedicated to the private sector). To date, three investment vehicles have been raised:
• Averroès Finance I (launched in 2003) invested in multi-sector development capital funds for the Maghreb region, thereby building a nascent private equity market
• Averroès Finance II (launched in 2009) continued to invest in multi-sector development capital funds supported by experienced management teams, while expanding its footprint active area to the Maghreb and the Eastern Mediterranean region, including investments in funds in Turkey and Lebanon
• Averroès Finance III (launched in 2015) focused exclusively on the African continent (including the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa), investing in development capital, transmission capital, and venture capital funds supported by experienced management teams
• Bpifrance is currently launching Averroès Africa, the fourth African fund of funds managed by Bpifrance Investissement.
Built on the private equity expertise developed in Africa over the past 17 years, this pan-African fund is capitalizing on the 3 previous generations of funds of the Averroès scheme.
Averroès Africa, sponsored by Bpifrance and open to third-party investors, will continue to invest on the whole African continent, targeting venture, development and transmission capital funds managed by experienced local private equity teams, with regional or pan-African coverage.
Who is it for?
1) Third-party investors: co-sponsored by Bpifrance and Proparco, the Averroès funds of funds are open to third-party investors and aimed at any institutional investor willing to be exposed to growing African economies. Through their investment in an Averroès fund of funds, investors have access to a large network and an ecosystem that includes:
• Start-ups with great potential and growing SMEs and ISEs in many business sectors in Africa
• The best African private equity fund management teams demonstrating real local expertise
• Other international investors also investing in African private equity. Investors thus have the opportunity to build strategic partnerships or see commercial opportunities arise on the African continent.
2) African private equity funds: African private equity fund managers work with Bpifrance through the Averroès framework to acquire funding from well-known public bodies, including Bpifrance. With more than 20 years of experience in the funds of funds market in France and internationally, Bpifrance offers a high degree of expertise and meets high standards in terms of best practices in investing, governance, and ESG. This ensures a high level of institutionalisation of supported African private equity funds.
3) French companies: the Averroès programme is a catalyst for networking indirectly financed companies in Africa with their counterparts from Bpifrance’s French portfolio, while allowing French companies to build on their existing network of managers to become established or grow in this region.
How to benefit from this product or activity?
The next investment vehicle, Averroès Africa, aims to invest in private equity funds dedicated to the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan African region. Preference will be given to multi-country, regional, and pan-African funds. The funds may have development capital, transmission capital, or venture capital strategies, with a general or sector-specific approach. Finally, Averroès Africa will give preference to experienced teams, as well as to new teams from or supported by a recognised management company.
For 15 years, Bpifrance has worked in close collaboration with Proparco on the Averroès funds of funds scheme. Africa forms the core of Proparco’s strategy, with Proparco being a long-time player in both bank financing and equity in Africa.
A few figures
raised through three vehicles
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