Private equity fund Alitheia IDF announces final closes of its US$100m fund

AFRICA – Alitheia IDF, Africa’s first women-led and women-focused private equity fund, has announced the final close of its US$100 million fund, which it claims is the largest gender-inclusive private equity fund on the continent.

The US$100 million close, which Alitheia IDF said makes the fund the largest of its kind in Africa, comes after the European Investment Bank (EIB) joined as the closing investor, investing US$24.6 million.

Led by principal partners Polo Leteka and Tokunboh Ishmael, Alitheia IDF invests in growth stage companies across six African countries – Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Zambia.

“Globally, women have tremendous purchasing power as consumers and controllers of household economics,” Ishmael said.

“In the same vein, women entrepreneurs have a significant presence in Africa’s SME sector with African women making up 58 per cent of the continent’s self-employed population. However, despite this economic power and presence, African women are underserved as consumers and producers.”

The fund has a mandate to plug the over US$42 billion investment gap between male and female entrepreneurs as a means of catalysing the economic power of African women as producers, distributors, and consumers.

“In the same vein, women entrepreneurs have a significant presence in Africa’s SME sector with African women making up 58 per cent of the continent’s self-employed population.”

“This has had 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,” Ishmael added.

“We are proactively 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.”

In 2021, the fund began implementing this mandate by leading investment rounds in five women-led businesses, namely Jetstream Africa (Ghana), ReelFruit (Nigeria), SKLD (formerly SchoolKits, Nigeria), AV Light Steel (South Africa) and Chika’s Food (Nigeria).

EIB vice-president Thomas Östros said women-owned businesses still struggled to raise funding, although they had proven their performance.

“I am very pleased to support a true “by women for women” 2X Flagship fund that invests in companies creating job opportunities while enhancing diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy,” he said.

“The EIB’s investment in Alitheia IDF is part of our SheInvest initiative seeking to mobilise EUR2 billion of investment to boost gender equality and female economic empowerment across the African continent. I truly believe that gender equality makes societies stronger.”

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