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Alitheia IDF raises $100m to invest in African women-led businesses

Alitheia IDF raises $100m to invest in African women-led businesses
December 15
12:50 2021

Alitheia IDF, a women-focused private equity fund in Africa, says it has raised $100 million to close investment gaps. 

The company, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said the fund will increase investment in women-led businesses across essential sectors. 

With the deal, the statement added that Alitheia IDF becomes largest gender-lens private equity fund by value in Africa.

The company said the European Investment Bank (EIB) joined as the closing investor with $24.6 million.

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Alitheia IDF explained that it is supported by investors across four continents: the African Development Bank, Bank of Industry Nigeria, FinDev Canada, Dutch Good Growth Fund and the EIB.

Its current investee companies are Jetstream Africa (Ghana), ReelFruit Ltd (Nigeria), SKLD (formerly SchoolKits, Nigeria), AV Light Steel (South Africa) and Chika’s Food (Nigeria).

“African women have remained underserved by the financial sector even as the historical investment gap between men and women continues to widen. Estimates show that African women receive less than 5% of all investment on the continent even though over 40% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa are women-led,” the statement reads.

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“By applying a gender-smart lens to investment, Alitheia IDF is setting the pace and providing a framework for gender-inclusive investments to enable economic growth for African countries and, critically, African women.”

Speaking on the development, Tokunboh Ishmael, principal partner of Alitheia IDF in Nigeria, said: “Globally, women have tremendous purchasing power as consumers and controllers of household economics. In the same vein, women entrepreneurs have a significant presence in Africa’s SME sector with African women making up 58% of the continent’s self-employed population.”

“However, despite this economic power and presence, African women are underserved as consumers and producers. This has had a huge impact on economic growth as the potential of more than half of the continent’s population remain untapped due to structural and systemic issues.

“We are proactively working towards filling this gap with a clear mandate to support women-led businesses across the continent while raising awareness for gender smart investment as a path towards inclusive economic growth.”

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On his part, Thomas Ostros, EIB vice-president, said: “Women-owned businesses still struggle to raise funding, although they have proven their performance. I am very pleased to support a true ‘by women for women’ 2X Flagship fund that invests in companies creating job opportunities while enhancing diversity in sub-Saharan Africa’s economy.”

“The EIB’s investment in Alitheia IDF is part of our Shelnvest initiative seeking to mobilise €2 billion of investment to boost gender equality and female economic empowerment across the African continent. I truly believe that gender equality makes societies stronger.”

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