Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company and France’s national investment bank Bpifrance signed an agreement to launch a new co-investment partnership focused on African private equity.
As part of the deal, two companies will deploy up to €350 million ($416m) through fund and direct investments in private equity and venture capital, with a focus on high-growth African start-ups, small and medium enterprises and mid-market companies.
“Over the years, we have developed a strong relationship with Bpifrance and have successfully invested or committed approximately €1.5 billion in more than 15 investments in France,” Waleed Al Muhairi, deputy group chief executive of Mubadala, said. “We are excited to extend this partnership into Africa, a market which we believe has significant untapped potential, and to invest alongside them in high-growth companies.”
The initiative comes after France and the UAE committed, alongside 45 other countries and institutions, to work collectively towards a post-Covid economic recovery in Africa, including through tailored support for entrepreneurs and SMEs, as part of the Summit on the Financing of African Economies held in May.
Bpifrance has been investing in Africa for over 20 years through Averroès, a dedicated fund of funds programme. Averroès includes a portfolio of 21 private equity and venture capital funds as well as over 150 underlying companies based out of 40 African countries. It recently launched a fourth fund of funds, Averroès Africa, with a target size of €100m.
Bpifrance and Mubadala have built a strong relationship since the launch of the French Emirati Fund in 2014 and the Innovation Partnership in 2017, with about €1 billion of joint investments in French companies as well as a €1bn commitment by Mubadala into Bpifrance’s flagship Lac1 Fund dedicated to listed French multinationals.
“We are more convinced than ever of the tremendous potential of Africa’s private sector and of the pivotal role that African private equity will play in uncovering and empowering industrial and tech champions throughout the continent,” Nicolas Dufourcq, chief executive of Bpifrance, said.
With a $243bn portfolio spanning six continents, Mubadala has interests in a range of sectors from aerospace and healthcare to real estate, technology, utilities and oil and gas.
The sovereign fund has been boosting its investments across the globe and announced a number of deals this year. Earlier this month, it bought a 2.6 per cent stake in Russia’s En+, a low-carbon aluminium and hydropower producer. It also took a stake in Saudi Aramco’s pipeline venture named Aramco Oil Pipelines.
Its other recent investments include a 60 per cent stake in the UAE based United Eastern Medical Services as well as Germany’s ophthalmic lens manufacturer Rodenstock group.
In March, Mubadala agreed to plough £800 million in Britain's life sciences industry over the next five years, as part of £1bn deal between the UK and the UAE.