Phatisa raises $243m for African Agriculture Fund


African private equity firm Phatisa has held a final close of its African Agriculture Fund (AAF) on $243m.

The fund’s investors comprise a national and institutional mix of development finance institutions, government agencies, development banks, commercial banks, fund of funds and private investors. It recently confirmed a $50m commitment from The US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

The firm said, “The AAF was launched on the principle of harnessing capital from diverse international sources to invest in Africa’s long term food security in a sustainable and transparent manner. The solution? Solicit European, African and US investors and target businesses across the African food sector requiring equity capital to expand and grow, where traditional bank debt is neither available, nor appropriate.”

The fund made its first deal in January 2011 and to date, its has committed in excess of $84m across Africa in countries such as Sierra Leone and Madagascar and. Phatisa hopes to disperse 50 per cent of the AAF’s equity by the end of 2013, it said.

To date, no investments have been made in any of the African engine economies, demonstrating the Fund’s aim to combate chronic undercapitalisation of the agri and food sectors outside of these economies, according to senior founding partner, Stuart Bradley. “Given the nature of the financial markets throughout the fundraising period, 2010 to 2012, we were pleased to gain the support of a diverse investor base that shared our vision of development and private equity in Africa. We value our investors entrusting us with their capital and are focused on providing them with attractive financial and developmental returns.”

Phatisa operates from offices in Port Louis, Johannesburg, Lusaka, Nairobi, Accra and London. The firm‘s AAF SME Fund first closed in February 2012 on $30m, focused on SME companies in the food and agri sectors. Three portfolio investments have been concluded to date in Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

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