With a pledged $200 million (USD), the Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund (MFAGF) is a visionary Fund of Funds that works through African Investment Vehicles to promote early-stage, growth-oriented SMEs across the continent. The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund seeks to provide young people, especially young women, with access to respectable and worthwhile employment. The Fund-of-Funds acts as a catalyst by enhancing and reducing the risk associated with African Investment Vehicles that are dedicated to advancing gender equity in entrepreneurship.
The MFAGF will offer a business development facility for the portfolio companies of investment vehicles in addition to capital for fund managers. The Fund-of-Funds initiative will apply gender-lens investing (GLI) principles to further the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, which seeks to provide access to 30 million young people in Africa, especially young women, to meaningful and respectable employment by 2030. The Fund-of-Funds has so far secured the support of two investment vehicles, one in East Africa and one in West Africa, both of which foster entrepreneurship. For the MFAGF, Investisseurs et Partenaires (I&P) serves as the fund advisor.
The MFAGF fund, which is run by female African fund managers and supports various fund structures and instruments, will play a transformative role for the first time. In order to overcome some of the obstacles, such as local currency risk, the fund also aims to make it easier to raise large amounts of capital from African investors.
More women-led funds, which presently make up the majority of the pipeline, and promoting more patient capital into different investment vehicles are the two primary pillars the MFAGF strives to support.
Many of the frameworks used were developed by The Criterion Institute, and it will support investment vehicles in their efforts to apply and uphold a strong gender perspective in all investment decisions. In addition to providing funding, the effort will also provide technical and qualitative support, including guidance on establishing HR rules and best practices for corporate governance within the funds and its ensuing portfolio firms.
The Africa Growth Fund DOES NOT invest directly in small and medium-sized enterprises. Instead, it provides capital to selected Investment Vehicles, which then distribute funding to businesses that meet their criteria. If you MANAGE A FUND and want to get involved, we invite you to learn more about us and submit an application.