Open Society Foundation invests US$10m in women focused fund

AFRICA – Alitheia IDF, a private equity fund, has landed US$10 million from Open Society Foundation, that is owned by American billionaire George Soros. 

Alitheia IDF is a joint venture fund between Alitheia Capital, a private equity investment in Nigeria, and IDF Capital in South Africa. It invests in companies that operate in Southern and West Africa that are either women-owned or that focus on supporting women. 

Open Society Foundations said in announcement that its Open Society Economic Justice Programme, has committed US$15-million to two women-led investment funds that advance economic and gender equity via its impact investing arm, the Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF). 

The remaining US$5-million will be invested in the Women’s World Banking Capital Partners II, managed by the non-profit Women’s World Banking. 

Open Society Foundations said Alitheia IDF will invest between US$1 million and US$5 million, with the potential for additional funding at a later stage, in small and medium-sized enterprises that present an opportunity to promote gender equality. 

Investments are made in local currencies across Southern and Western Africa, with a focus on sectors with a high representation of female entrepreneurs and strong prominence of women working in the value chain. These sectors include agribusinesses, consumer goods, and essential services. 

The fund is the brainchild of Alitheia IDF led by Polo Leteka and Tokunboh Ishmael. According to Ventureburn, Leteka, who is also the CEO of SA’s IDF fund, said that Alitheia Capital is now sitting at US$75.2-million after the latest capital injection

The fund is also supported by African Development Bank, Bank of Industry Nigeria, FinDev Canada and the Dutch Good Growth Fund. 

With the funding, the firm is looking to invest in about 12 Small and Middle-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with the potential of scaling beyond their countries of origin.  

Furthermore, they will use the funding to boosts these sectors; agriculture, agro-processing, and companies that provide essential goods and services. 

In the long run, the company is targeting to create 5,000 jobs for women, and also provide close to 100,000 women with access to essential products and services. 

Previously, the African Development Bank (AfDB) seeded the company with an equity investment of US$12.5 million, while FinDev Canada made a US$7.5 million investment in the company. 

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