NIGERIA – Syntaxis Capital Africa, an independent fund manager for Sub-Saharan Africa has launched US$33.19 million private equity fund to bring financing to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)in Nigeria and other selected African countries.

The main goal of the funding is to bridge the financing gap in small businesses mainly focusing on manufacturing, agriprocessing, healthcare, education and non-banking financial services.

It was launched in Abuja last month in partnership with Afrinvest Asset Management Limited, a leading independent investment manager and subsidiary of Afrinvest West Africa Limited.

According to Group Managing Director of Afrinvest, Ike Chioke, the focus of the fund was on deepening and widening financing alternatives for SMEs by providing patient capital.

He said the fund provides a viable option for SMEs looking for sustainable growth capital.

“We see the fund as a vehicle for rapid economic growth and development in the countries we invest in.

By providing not only access to patient growth capital to SMEs, but also combining that with capacity building and operational expertise, we are giving businesses the ability to scale their activities, which will in turn will increase productivity, create new jobs and generate taxes for the government.

In addition, being one of the few private equity funds led by a Nigerian woman, the fund has a unique focus on investing with a gender lens strategy, using our transformative growth capital to influence and enhance gender equality throughout our portfolio companies, improving the ratio of women in the workforce, board and value chain, which we believe will enhance financial returns for our companies and thus investors, whilst improving the society and economy simultaneously,” said Partner and Managing Director, Syntaxis Capital Africa, Adesuwa Okunbo.

Syntaxis Capital Africa, which is the sponsor of the fund, has team members with a 30-year track record of successfully managing private equity funds with experienced local teams, having raised up to US$300 million from global institutional investors and deploying successful private equity funds in other emerging markets.

Syntaxis Nigeria Growth Fund is the Sponsor’s naira parallel vehicle makes up approximately 30% of its total fundraise which includes a USD PE vehicle, Syntaxis Capital Africa Fund which will invest on a parallel basis to the naira vehicle.

The development was necessitated by the need for active funding for small businesses which sometimes struggle to stay afloat.

According to the World Bank, SMEs contribute up to 60% of employment opportunities and up to 40% to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).