The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) agreed on Wednesday that the Bank should take a stake of USD 10.50 million in the capital of Seedstars Africa Ventures S.L.P. venture capital fund to enable it to invest in innovative African businesses with strong growth potential.
The Bank agreed to invest USD 7 million from its ordinary resources and USD 3.5 million from the European Union Boost Africa programme. The investment will allow Seedstars Africa Ventures (SAV) to raise funds, expand its presence in Africa and attract other investors.
Seedstars Africa Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund investing in high-growth companies active across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The fund focuses on businesses that have strong potential, are generating income and tackling key challenges in the market. It mainly targets sub-Saharan Africa, especially markets less well covered by traditional investors, and enjoys a particular focus on French-speaking countries such as Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and Cameroon. However, it also has investments in Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.
As a venture capital fund of USD 75 million, Seedstars Africa Ventures targets the start-up and launch phases of businesses tackling key constraints in the market. Initial investments are around the EUR 250,000 mark, followed by additional capital injections of €5 million to support their growth.
SAV focuses on financial inclusion and the technologies that equip businesses (fintech and insurtech); retail sales and logistics platforms that target the online and mobile consumers market; health-related technologies; pre-paid, off-grid energy; and more generally, the adoption of technology in businesses, particularly in the food-processing industry and value chains.
It is estimated that the fund will help create 9,000 full-time jobs, 50% of them for women, and have a significant economic impact.
The fund’s objectives are in line with those of Boost Africa, which aims to invest in innovative start-ups that are growing strongly and having a positive social impact. Its investment strategy will strengthen that of the African Development Bank, which links entrepreneurship, investment and economic growth to poverty reduction and sustainable development. It will also contribute to the Bank’s operational priorities – the High 5 – by supporting start-ups operating in key sectors, such as agriculture, health, industrialization and off-grid energy. Finally, the investments will contribute to strengthening regional integration and improving the lives of people in Africa.