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Featured image: Sawari Ventures team with investors during the signing ceremony yesterday (9 December) on the sidelines of the last day of the Africa 2018 Business Forum in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt

Sawari Ventures announces $35m first closing of $70m North Africa fund

Egyptian venture capital firm Sawari Ventures yesterday (9 December) announced a $35-million first closing of its $70-million Sawari Ventures North Africa Fund I (SVNFI).

The Cairo-based VC firm made the announcement on the sidelines of the last day of the Africa 2018 Business Forum in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.

In a statement yesterday (9 December), Sawari Ventures stated that it aims to use the fund to invest in tech and knowledge-driven companies in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

The fund’s first closing investors include the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Dutch Good Growth Fund which is managed by impact-focused investment manager Triple Jump, the French Development Agency’s (AFD) private sector financing arm Proparco and the UK’s CDC Group.

The Sawari Ventures North Africa Fund I will focus on tech startups in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco

The VC also mentioned in the statement that it will soon announce the closing of an Egypt-only fund that will operate parallel to SVNFI. The Egypt-focused fund ‘s investors include the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque du Caire, and Egypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (Itida).

Proparco head of the Innovation Division Johann Choux said the development finance institution is committed to support “the nascent African VC industry” to bridge the financing gap for talented entrepreneurs.

“This investment in the Sawari Ventures North Africa Fund I fully fits our mandate to support innovation, skilled job creation and access to essential services in the region,” he said.

‘Initiating a sustainable Egyptian VC industry’

Sawari Ventures partner Wael Amin said the firm is creating what he said is the “first of a kind vehicle” to combine top tier international and local investors to “cement” VC as an asset class in the country.

“We are initiating a sustainable Egyptian VC industry to ensure the availability of funding for future entrepreneurs,” added Amin.

The VC firm explained that the fund will invest a ticket size of $1.5-million in 25 growth-stage companies in the ICT, deep technology, fintech, edtech, healthtech and cleantech sectors.

Amin said investment appetite in Africa is “growing aggressively” and added that there is an abundance of high-growth opportunities waiting for the right funding and the right partners. He added that the VC firm has been building startups in

EIB head of Intermediated finance for MSMEs Milena Messori said this is the bank’s first commitment to a venture capital fund focused on Egypt.

“Moreover it is the first EIB operation under the risk capital facility of the Economic Resilience Initiative,” she said, referring to a programme which aims to mobilise financing for countries in the Middle East and Balkans through investments in infrastructure, development of the private sector and stimulation of growth and job creation.

Featured image: Sawari Ventures team with investors during the signing ceremony yesterday (9 December) on the sidelines of the last day of the Africa 2018 Business Forum in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt (Supplied)

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