The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, plans to make an equity investment of up to €25 million ($26.43) into the Partech Africa Fund II (PAF II) by the Paris-based VC firm Partech. The IFC said in the disclosures that it’s eyeing a stake not exceeding 20%.
The agency said it will commit a further €15 million ($15.9 million) for future co-investment opportunities together with the fund. The PAF II will invest in “seed to Series D rounds, and follow-on rounds in top portfolio companies,” according to records by the IFC. The investment is awaiting approval.
“IFC’s proposed investment in Partech Africa Fund is an equity investment of up to €25 million, not to exceed 20% of the total Fund commitment. In addition, IFC has proposed a separate co-investment envelope of up to €15 million on a delegated authority basis, to facilitate IFC’s ability to participate in potential future co-investment opportunities alongside the Fund,” the IFC said in the disclosure.
It is not immediately clear how much Partech was looking to raise, as the VC firm, one of the largest in Africa, declined to share specific details of the fundraising with TechCrunch.
However, it is expected to be larger than the Fund I, which closed at $143 million in 2019 and had the participation of the IFC and some other major institutions like the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Dutch Development Bank (FMO) and the African Development Bank Group — entities that are driving investment across the continent. The EIB and FMO plan to invest in this round too, with the latter considering injecting up to €25 million too.
The PAF II will be invested in early and growth tech startups across the continent, availing the much needed funding in the continent. Last year startups in Africa raised between $4.3 billion and $5 billion, and while this was great growth (almost double) from the previous year, it was still marginal when compared to other regions across the world. Such funds as the PAF are geared at closing this gap.
“IFC anticipates the project to increase access to equity alongside operational value add for startups across Africa. Access to venture capital in Africa remains low compared to most other emerging markets. The project is also expected to increase innovation in key markets across Africa through the support of market-disrupting digital business models,” the IFC said.
“In markets where investees grow rapidly and become sizable market players, innovation at scale can generate large impacts on a market by pushing traditional players to innovate and introduce digital solutions or reduce traditional incumbents’ market share,” the agency said.
Partech has 15 investments in nine countries across Africa, including Wave, a U.S. and Senegal-based mobile money service provider; Tugende, a Ugandan mobility-tech company; and Trade Depot, a Nigeria and U.S.-based company that connects consumer goods brands to retailers.