Date: 14/04/2014

(Reuters) - Three years after disputed elections led to bloodshed, Ivory Coast has emerged as one of the most exciting opportunities for private equity investors in Africa, with a dynamic workforce keen to put a decade of turmoil behind it, a senior investor said on Friday.

Jean-Michel Severino, chairman of Paris-based Investisseurs & Partenaires, said its two funds totaling 65 million euros aimed to provide investors with returns of up to 10 percent a year while fostering social development in Africa.

With interest in private equity in Africa booming, Severino said his firm was launching two new funds: a 50 million euro venture with Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA) for power projects and a 100 million euro vehicle for small infrastructure development.

I&P's traditionnal deals are based around a 10% profitability "Any more than that and we'd be in the same space as traditional private equity. But to allow our investors to settle for this lower return, we have to ensure them a social impact."

Severino cited the Kiva (www.kiva.org) site which allows people to lend small amounts of money to entrepreneurs in over 70 countries. Since 2005, it has crowd-funded more than 1 million loans - providing half a billion dollars - at a repayment rate of 99 percent.

CDS, a Mauritanian firm building rural water and energy installations in which I&P hold 40 percent, used Kiva to raise nearly 15,000 euros of funding in just one day. 

(Editing by Toby Chopra)

Leave a Reply

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.