$200 million (USD) Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund Launched for Investment Vehicles (IVs) to Catalyze Job Opportunities

WATERLOO, ON, Dec. 2, 2022 /CNW/ - The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund (The Fund), a Fund-of-Funds of African investment vehicles (IVs) to support early-stage, growth-oriented SMEs, launched today with $200 million (USD). The goal is enabling dignified and fulfilling work for youth, particularly young women. The Fund is bold and catalytic, helping to crowd in capital for African entrepreneurs by strengthening and de-risking African IVs that advance gender equity in entrepreneurship.

In addition, the Fund will offer a business development facility for its portfolio companies. The initiative will use gender-lens investing (GLI) principles to promote the Mastercard Foundation's Young Africa Works strategy, which aims to enable 30 million youth in Africa, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030. So far, the MFAGF has recruited two IVs supporting entrepreneurial growth - one in East Africa and one in West Africa.

African owned IVs, led, and based are considered high-risk. At the same time, African SMEs struggle to access the financing they need to scale, inhibiting their potential. The Fund tackles both challenges by investing in and strengthening African IVs that in turn support African SMEs.

"We need to do everything it takes now to build a continent with shared prosperity and sustainable, inclusive growth," says Dr. Dorothy Nyambi, President and CEO of MEDA "This Fund-of-Funds will strengthen a new crop of African IVs to drive decent job creation for women and youth via investments in small and medium-sized enterprises." Dr. Nyambi added that success lies in increasing youth employment and moving from talk to action.

"More than 75 percent of ventures funded will be led by women creating jobs," Dr. Nyambi said. "Ultimately, our impact will be in building the investment ecosystem for investment vehicles and in the SMEs that will thrive and create dignified employment."

"The MFAGF has built up a promising pipeline of 180 diverse investment vehicles, including Early-stage, Growth, Debt and Seed VC Funds and other non-traditional funds," says Samuel Akyianu, MFAGF Chief of Party/Managing Director. "Five have gone through our investment screening process, two female-led investment vehicles are past due diligence and received a favourable investment decision."

Akyianu explains that the main objective is to make investments that generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact while building a stronger and more vibrant African investment ecosystem. He says the Fund is committed to measuring and reporting decent job creation for Africa's youth through a process that incorporates gender, diversity, inclusivity, social, and environmental performance.

The Fund-of-Fund's vision is led by MEDA and implemented by a consortium of partners, including Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) and Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP), Genesis Analytics, the Criterion Institute, and Africa Communications Media Group.

Notes to editors

About the Mastercard Foundation African Growth Fund

The Fund is a $200 million (USD) impact investing initiative by the Mastercard Foundation. It works through African IVs to support early-stage, growth-oriented SMEs on the continent, enabling dignified and fulfilling work for young people, particularly young women. It is catalytic, helping to crowd in additional capital for African entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs, by strengthening and de-risking African investment vehicles that are committed to advancing gender equity in entrepreneurship.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation is a Canadian foundation and one of the largest in the world, with approximately $40 billion in assets. The Foundation was created in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. Since then, the Foundation has operated independently. The Foundation's policies, operations, and program decisions are determined by its Board. For more information, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org

About Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)

MEDA has been implementing effective market-driven programs globally since 1953. It combines financial and technical expertise to build and enhance sustainable agri-food systems providing decent work for people living in poverty in marginalized communities, including women and youth. Our core expertise lies in market systems, environmental sustainability and climate action, gender equality and social inclusion, inclusive financial services, and impact investment. MEDA partners with local private, public and civil society actors, strengthening individuals, institutions, communities, and ecosystems, and thereby contributing to sustainable and inclusive systemic change.

For more information please visit: https://meda.org/mfagf

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SOURCE Mennonite Economic Development Associates

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