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
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