EBRD mulls $50m commitment to MENA Infra II

Interested in supporting infra projects in North Africa and Turkey, the development bank will decide by June whether to invest in MENA Infrastructure Fund II.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will decide by June whether it will commit up to $50 million to MENA Infrastructure Fund II, which has a target of $500 million.

“The EBRD's proposed investment is expected to promote the more widespread private ownership of infrastructure projects in North Africa and Turkey,” EBRD said in a recent announcement. “Furthermore, the bank's investment is also expected to promote infrastructure equity as an asset class in the aforementioned region.”

The announcement comes just three months after the development bank launched a $250 million fund to support private sector renewable investment in the Middle East and North Africa.

MENA Infrastructure Fund II will “have the same proven investment strategy” as its predecessor, targeting the same infrastructure sub-sectors, such as energy, transportation, water/wastewater and social infrastructure, MENA Infrastructure states on its website.

Geographical focus will also remain the same for the most part – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and North Africa – but will be expanded to include Turkey, a market the firm describes as “dynamic and fast-growing” from an infrastructure perspective.

The Dubai-based firm closed its first fund on $300 million in 2008. Its investments include the Alexandria International Container Terminals (AICT) in Egypt; the Sohar Water and Power Project in Oman; the Qurayyah gas-fired power project (QIPP) in Saudi Arabia; and the United Power Company (Manah IPP), also in Oman.

Founded in 2007, MENA Infrastructure is owned by HSBC, Fajr Capital and Waha Capital.

Fajr Capital, which will manage the second fund alongside Waha Capital, is itself backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, the government of Brunei, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, and Saudi trading house Al Subeaei Group. The Abu Dhabi government also holds a 15 percent stake in Waha Capital.