September 9, 2019
Example of investment destination: manufacturer of pharmaceuticals(© Béchir Malum)
On August 30, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a 7,000,000 euro investment contract with I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs II LP. Through contribution to the impact investment fund*, this investment aims to diversify industries and create job opportunities mainly in the French-speaking countries of Sub-Saharan Africa by investing in and providing technical supports for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Many Sub-Saharan African nations rely heavily on primary commodities, making diversification of industry and creation of jobs a challenge for the region. Therefore there is an urgent need for growth in small and medium-sized enterprises that make up nearly 30% of the GDP and 40% of all employment. Country risk and individual business risks are high for investing in small and medium-sized enterprises in such regions, making it difficult for private investors to invest, and this is the reason why development finance institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Proparco are already contributing to the fund. JICA is working with other development organizations in order to make the risks acceptable for private entities.
I&P, the organization that established and runs I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs II LP, has local offices in six African countries, and is pioneering ESG and impact investment funding for sub-Saharan African nations. They are investing in small and medium-sized enterprises in various fields such as agriculture, health, construction, ICT, education and renewable energy, and in addition to support for corporate growth, they are involved in improving working environments, gender equality, and consideration for the environment.
JICA expects to gain a clear picture of the local private sector in the region and the situation among small and medium-sized enterprises through this fund. This information will be shared with Japanese companies, thereby promoting understanding of the investment opportunities in such regions.
JICA has focused on development of local small and medium-sized enterprises by providing technical cooperation that makes use of “Kaizen” improvement techniques. We look forward to continuing wide-ranging support in this area through pioneering efforts among private enterprises.
*Impact investment: Investment that aims to achieve both social resutls and financial returns by investing in businesses, organizations and funds that are enagaged in social projects.