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UPDATE: (16 November): An earlier version of this article stated that Proparco will deploy the €50-million in 2019. Proparco communication’s adviser Romain Esperon subsequently clarified to Ventureburn that while Proparco had earmarked €50-million — only part of the amount will be deployed next year. It is not clear over what period the fund aims to deploy the full amount.
French development finance institution Proparco aims to deploy €50-million into Africa’s tech ecosystem, its Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regional head Siby Diabira has revealed.
Diabira (pictured above) told Ventureburn in Cape Town yesterday at tech conference AfricArena, that the €50-million commitment forms part of the €65-million French Development Agency (AFD) fund announced by French President Emmanuel Macron in May at French tech summit VivaTech. AFD has a significant stake in Proparco.
Diabira said Proparco had set up a dedicated innovation and venture capital team that will work on deploying the €50-million.
She explained that the money will be deployed in two ways — through intermediaries in the form of investment funds and investment firms as well as directly into startups.
Proparco is looking to directly invest in two to three investment funds and two to three direct investments in 2019
Proparco, she said, will directly invest up to €1-million in startups looking for Series-A to Series-C funding, and between €5-million to €10-million in investment funds. “We are currently looking for two to three investment funds and two to three direct investments for 2019” said Diabira.
She said the investments will be sector agnostic and will focus on how the potential investee’s solutions benefit people. “I think for us the main focus point is looking for startups that will change the day-to-day life of people,” she said.
When Ventureburn asked where exactly geographically these investments would be made in Africa, Diabira said only that it will be where the institution finds “the best opportunity”.
She also revealed that Proparco has so far this year invested between €10-million to €15-million in other African funds. These deals include the institution’s investment into the Partech Africa fund and TLcom‘s TIDE Africa Fund, as well as the Energy Access Fund, run as a joint EU-African partnership.
Poparco, she added, is “still finalising” its involvement in Nairobi-based Novastar Venture‘s Novastar II fund.
In April, Proparco invested $3-million in SA fintech Jumo.
Featured image: Proparco Southern Africa and Indian Ocean regional head Siby Diabira