Press Releases
print

IFC INVESTS IN WEST AFRICA GROWTH FUND


Amy Conran
Phone: (202) 473-9119
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: aconran@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5—The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has made a US$6.3 million investment in the West Africa Growth Fund, a closed-end investment fund that will make long- term investments in companies in the CFA zone, the 13 countries of West and Central Africa that share a common currency, the CFA Franc. IFC, as Structuring Agent, advised the fund manager, Framlington, on how to structure the fund and provided background information on potential investment opportunities in the region.
The fund will seek long term capital appreciation through equity, equity-linked and quasi-equity investments in public enterprises being privatized as well as private companies that are expanding, modernizing or restructuring their operations. It will invest in a variety of sectors, primarily in medium-sized and large unlisted companies, serving either export or domestic markets.
Incorporated and listed in Luxembourg, the fund is expected to be listed on the Abidjan stock exchange in the coming weeks and will have a life of ten years. The fund recently closed at US$25 million, with IFC subscribing US$6.3 million, the Caisse Francaise de Developpement Group US$5 million and Framlington US$1.5 million. The remaining capital was subscribed by European and West African institutional investors and industrial companies.

"The 1994 devaluation of the CFA Franc has brought about a general improvement of the macroeconomic environment in the region, greatly benefiting export-oriented companies," said Tei Mante, IFC Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. He continued, "the West Africa Growth Fund will provide the additional capital that some of these companies need to finance their growth." Bahadurali Jetha, Manager, Capital Markets, IFC's Sub-Saharan Africa Department, added, "we expect that profitable investment opportunities will arise from the on-going privatization programs in the region."

Framlington, a London-based group, manages US$3.7 billion world-wide and specializes in emerging situations and markets.

IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries.