$200m Canadian-Initiated Fund Launched

Prez Kufuor interacting with Canadian officials

A $200-million Canadian-initiated Investment Fund for Africa (CIFA) to support private and public sector business enterprises in Africa was has been launched in Accra, Ghana. The equity capital fund is made of contributions of $81 million from the Canadian Government and $40 million from the United Kingdom, with the balance to be raised from third party private and public investors. The fund is to be co-managed by Cordiant of Canada and Actis of the United Kingdom and it is a public-private partnership created by the Canadian government to encourage foreign direct investment in Africa. The strategy of the fund is to develop a diverse balanced portfolio across a range of investment types, sectors, industries and regions with a view to demonstrating the investment potential of Africa. Launching the fund, President John Agyekum Kufuor, said Ghana was pleased and justifiably proud that it had been chosen as the venue for the launch of the fund. “To us in government, this is confirmation of the cordial relations between our two countries, Ghana and Canada,” President Kufuor said. “It is also an endorsement of our policies of good governance, sound economic management and private sector development, not to mention an emerging business-friendly environment,” he added. President Kufuor said the fund had come at an opportune time, adding that “there is little doubt that it will attract other investors and entrepreneurs to the continent”. He said Ghana would use the opportunity to support small and medium enterprises in all parts of the country, while encouraging partnerships among companies within the country and with their counterparts abroad. “The inevitable generation of wealth should give a boost to government’s efforts to fight poverty, in line with the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy,” President Kufuor said. The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Donald J. Bobiash, said, “Ghana is an African success story and that is one of the reasons why we are launching CIFA here in Accra.” He said Africa was a wealthy continent, with abundant natural resources and incredible economic potential, adding that “our collective task is to translate this wealth into better lives for Africans”. Mr Bobiash said there was the need to harness the creative force of the private sector and its instincts for sustainability, stressing that “we cannot do that without investment”. He said the Canadian Government, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), would match, dollar, for dollar all investments in the fund up to $100 million for a minimum targeted aggregate capital of $200 million. Mr Bobiash said CIFA played an important role in Canada’s overall support to the development of the private sector in Africa. He said the fund was also a new way for the Canadian government to pursue an active partnership with the private sector. “We hope that the Canadian, African and international business communities will seize these opportunities, with CIFA as a catalyst, for equitable, sustainable economic growth that reduces poverty and brings Africa into the mainstream of global commerce,” the High Commissioner said. Mr David Creighton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cordiant, said the fund would assist Africa in the next stage of growth and mentioned that recent media focus on the continent had been positive, giving an indication that there were opportunities in the private sector in Africa. Mr Paul Fletcher, a senior partner of Actis, said the role of the private sector was crucial to the growth of the economies of African countries.“I am confident about the way forward,” he said.