The management of Alitheia IDF (AIF), Africa’s women-led and women-focused private equity fund. It announced the final close of the $100 million fund with European Investment Bank (EIB) joining as the closing investor with $24.6 million.
With this fund, Alitheia will plug the over $42 billion investment gap between male and female entrepreneurs. As a means to improve the economic power of African women as producers, distributors, and consumers.
Led by principal partners Polo Leteka and Tokunboh Ishmael, Alitheia IDF invests in growth- stage companies across six African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Zambia.
In 2021, the fund began implementing this mandate by leading investment rounds in five women-led businesses across essential sectors including agribusiness, education, manufacturing, housing, technology, and logistics.
The investee companies are Jetstream Africa (Ghana), ReelFruit Ltd (Nigeria), SKLD (formerly SchoolKits, Nigeria), AV Light Steel (South Africa) and Chika’s Food (Nigeria).
“Globally, women have tremendous purchasing power as consumers and controllers of household economics. In the same vein, women entrepreneurs have a significant presence in Africa’s small and medium enterprise (SME) sector with African women making up 58 percent of the continent’s self-employed population. However, despite this economic power and presence, African women are underserved as consumers and producers. This has had a huge impact on economic growth as the potential of more than half of the continent’s population remains untapped due to structural and systemic issues,” Tokunboh Ishmael, Principal partner in Nigeria said.
Alitheia is working towards filling this gap with a clear mandate to support women-led businesses across the continent while raising awareness for gender- smart investment as a path towards inclusive economic growth.
African women have remained underserved by the financial sector even as the historical investment gap between men and women continues to widen. Estimates show that African women receive less than five percent of all investment on the continent even though over 40 percent of SMEs in Africa are women-led.
Reports by McKinsey point out that closing the investment gap will lead to 26 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth ($28 trillion) by 2025. By applying a gender-smart lens to investment, Alitheia IDF is setting the pace by providing a framework for gender-inclusive investments with the goal of enabling economic growth for African countries and, critically, African women.
Alitheia IDF (AIF) is a pioneering $100million gender-lens fund that identifies, invests in, and grows SMEs led by gender-diverse teams in 6 African countries. As Africa’s first women-focused and women-led private equity fund, managed by Alitheia Capital (Lagos, Nigeria) and IDF Capital (Johannesburg, South Africa), AIF adopts a proactive approach to investing in and supporting women-led or women-serving SMEs to achieve solid financial returns and tangible social impact for communities in Africa.
Polo Leteka, Principal Partner in South Africa, explained that it is her hope that Alitheia IDF’s leading example will inspire other investors on the continent to invest in women, noting that women have an important role to play in unlocking the economic potential of Africa.
The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union (EU) owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond.
To enhance the positive impact of its activities on gender equality and empower women and girls, the EIB Group adopted a Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment and a Gender Action Plan, with the aim of embedding gender equality and in particular women’s economic empowerment in the EIB’s business model.
“Women-owned businesses still struggle to raise funding, although they have proven their performance. I am very pleased to support a true ‘by- women for women’ flagship fund that invests in companies creating job opportunities while enhancing diversity in the sub-Saharan Africa’s economy. The EIB’s investment in Alitheia IDF is part of our SheInvest initiative seeking to mobilise €2 billion of investment to boost gender equality and female economic empowerment across the African continent,” Thomas ÖSTROS, EIB Vice-President said.
Alitheia IDF is supported by investors across four continents, the African Development Bank, Bank of Industry Nigeria, FinDev Canada, Dutch Good Growth Fund and the European Investment Bank. In 2019, the fund announced its first close at $75 million with
Alitheia IDF had fulfilled its commitment to raise funds for female-led businesses.