BY TOM JACKSON
The governments of Ivory Coast and Luxembourg will invest a total of EUR10 million (US$12 million) into Bamboo Capital Partners’ BLOC Smart Africa, a technology impact fund with a target of EUR100 million (US$120 million).
The BLOC Smart Africa fund, managed by Bamboo Capital Partners, will invest in high-growth potential startups to scale up across the continent, and is part of the Smart Africa Alliance, a pan-African initiative to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development by investing in underserved African communities.
The investments from the governments of Ivory Coast and Luxembourg will sponsor the first loss tranche of BLOC Smart Africa, which protects senior tranches of funding designed for institutional investors and provides them with a market-based risk-adjusted return that fulfils their fiduciary requirements.
“We have a critical funding gap across Africa,” said Lacina Koné, director general at Smart Africa. “The BLOC Smart Africa Fund will go a long way in bridging the financing gap between seed and growth stage for hundreds of businesses and in particular startups in Africa, emerging and frontier markets, and is the first-of-its-kind dedicated to helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Jean-Philippe De Schrevel, founder and managing partner at Bamboo Capital Partners, said the partnership with the governments of Ivory Coast and Luxembourg would play a crucial role in de-risking the senior tranches of the fund and thereby attracting institutional investors, as well as moving Africa one step closer to becoming a single digital market.
“Technology plays a crucial and unparalleled role in scaling impact exponentially on the ground in Africa. This is something we have witnessed first-hand with the growth of mobile banking on the continent in the last decade,” he said.