EIB-supported gender lens investment fund Alitheia IDF announces final close at $100 million

15 December 2021

      • Largest gender-inclusive private equity fund in Africa
      • 2X Flagship fund applying the 2X Challenge criteria
      • Boosting diversity across Africa


    The management of Alitheia IDF (AIF), Africa’s first women-led and women-focused private
    equity fund, has announced the final close of the $100 million fund with European Investment
    Bank (EIB) joining as the closing investor with $24.6 million. With this final close, Alitheia IDF
    becomes the largest gender-lens private equity fund by value in Africa.
    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. The fund has a mandate to plug the over $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 2021, the fund began
    implementing this mandate by leading investment rounds in five women-led businesses
    across essential sectors including agribusiness, education, manufacturing, housing,
    technology, and logistics. The investee companies are Jetstream Africa (Ghana), ReelFruit
    Ltd (Nigeria), SKLD (formerly SchoolKits, Nigeria), AV Light Steel (South Africa) and Chika’s
    Food (Nigeria).

    “Globally, women have tremendous purchasing power as consumers and controllers of
    household economics. In the same vein, women entrepreneurs have a significant presence
    in Africa's SME sector with African women making up 58% of the continent’s self-employed
    population. However, despite this economic power and presence, African women are
    underserved as consumers and producers. This has had huge impact on economic growth
    as the potential of more than half of the continent’s population remain untapped due to
    structural and systemic issues. 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,” said
    Principal Partner Tokunboh Ishmael in Nigeria.

    African women have remained underserved by the financial sector even as the historical
    investment gap between men and women continues to widen. Estimates show that African
    women receive less than 5% of all investment on the continent even though over 40% of
    small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa are women-led. Reports by McKinsey
    point out that closing the investment gap will lead to 26% gross domestic product (GDP)
    growth ($28 trillion) by 2025. By applying a gender-smart lens to investment, Alitheia IDF is
    setting the pace and providing a framework for gender-inclusive investments with the goal of
    enabling economic growth for African countries and, critically, African women.

    Polo Leteka, Principal Partner in South Africa, explained that it is her hope that Alitheia
    IDF’s leading example will inspire other investors on the continent to invest in women, noting
    that women have an important role to play in unlocking the economic potential of Africa. She
    further stated that “the historic inability to appropriately capture the economic potential of
    African women has affected Africa’s development. Alitheia IDF is on a mission to fill this gap
    by using a gender smart approach and financial capital to empower women as consumers
    and producers.”

    EIB Vice-President Thomas ÖSTROS said: “Women-owned businesses still struggle to
    raise funding, although they have 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 the sub-Saharan Africa’s economy. The EIB’s
    investment in Alitheia IDF is part of our SheInvest initiative seeking to mobilise €2 billion of
    investment to boost gender equality and female economic empowerment across the African
    continent. I truly believe that gender equality makes societies stronger.”
    Alitheia IDF is supported by investors across four continents: the African Development Bank,
    Bank of Industry Nigeria, FinDev Canada, Dutch Good Growth Fund and the European
    Investment Bank. In 2019, the fund announced its first close at $75 million with the President
    of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, stating at the time that Alitheia
    IDF had fulfilled its commitment to raise funds for female-led businesses. “Promise made,
    promise kept!” he declared.

    Read the story: A true by women, for women fund

    About Alitheia IDF
    Alitheia IDF (AIF) is a pioneering USD100million gender-lens fund that identifies, invests in,
    and grows SMEs led by gender-diverse teams in 6 African countries: Nigeria, South Africa,
    Ghana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

    As Africa’s first women-focused and women-led private equity fund, managed by Alitheia
    Capital (Lagos, Nigeria) and IDF Capital (Johannesburg, South Africa), AIF adopts a
    proactive approach to investing in and supporting women-led or women-serving SMEs to
    achieve solid financial returns and tangible social impact for communities in Africa.
    AIF is committed to advancing gender equality by capitalising on diversity and inclusion as
    an opportunity for driving better performance and superior return. The fund invests in
    businesses that engage a significant percentage of women, either as entrepreneurs,
    producers, distributors or consumers. Some of the sectors in focus are: Agribusiness,
    Consumer Goods, Health, Education, Creative Industries, and Financial and Business

    About the European Investment Bank
    The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European
    Union (EU) owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound
    investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond.
    To enhance the positive impact of its activities on gender equality and empower women and
    girls, the EIB Group adopted a Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic
    Empowerment and a Gender Action Plan, with the aim of embedding gender equality and in
    particular women’s economic empowerment in the EIB’s business model. It covers its
    lending, blending and advisory work within and outside the European Union.

    The EIB is also committed to driving gender equality in the workplace. The EU bank
    champions diversity and inclusion not only because of the undeniable business benefits they
    bring, but also because of their power to enrich the working environment for all staff.
    More information: The EIB gender equality initiatives

    Alitheia IDF
    Emeka Nwankwo e.nwankwo@thealithiea.com
    Website: www.alitheiaidf.com

    Anne-Laure Gaffuri a.gaffuri@eib.org tel.: +352 4379 83689, mobile: +352 691 284 679
    Website: www.eib.org/press – Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

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