The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) has approved US$250mn in financing for the establishment of two private equity investment funds designed to support the growth of businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. Among their many benefits, establishment of the funds will fulfil a goal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act.


Opic will provide an investment guarantee of up to US$100mn to support the first fund, to be managed by Washington, DC-based Emerging Market Partnership (EMP), one of the largest private equity managers focused on the emerging markets and the principal advisor to the US$407mn AIG African Infrastructure Fund. EMP’s Africa Fund II will target investments in infrastructure and related industries in Africa, including telecommunications, oil and gas, power, transportation and agribusiness. The fund may also invest in the media, financial services and manufacturing sectors.


Opic will provide up to US$150mn toward the establishment of the second fund, which will promote the expansion of medium-sized enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on South Africa and the manufacturing and services sectors. Called Ethos Fund V, it will also support South Africa’s effort to encourage black economic empowerment, as well as promote opportunities for women and low-income individuals through an arrangement with an investment firm, Sphere, which supports rural development and women-owned businesses.


The fund will be managed by Ethos Private Equity, one of the premier investment managers in Africa, having managed five successful private equity funds in South Africa since 1984.