ECP nearing first close on $1bn Africa fund

The private equity firm will likely hold a first close on more than $523m, topping its entire previous fund. Launched in the second quarter of this year, the fund will be one of the largest dedicated pan-Africa funds raised to date if it meets its target.

Private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners is targeting a record $1 billion (€642 million) for its latest pan-African vehicle.

The Washington DC-based firm is expected to hold a first close in early September, according to a source familiar with the fund. Buoyed by strong support from returning investors, the first close will likely be held on more than $523 million, beating the final close on ECP’s previous fund, ECP Africa II.

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ECP declined to comment.

Led by chief executive Tom Gibian, ECP is nearing full deployment of ECP Africa II, closed in May 2007.   Itsinvestors included the International Finance Corporation and UK-government backed fund of funds CDC.  

Merrill Lynch began marketing the $1 billion fund in the second quarter of this year. If the firm succeeds in reaching its target, ECP would lay claim to one of the largest pan-African private equity funds ever raised.

South African investment firm Harith is nearing a final close on a $1 billion pan-African infrastructure development fund, according to Probitas Partners. South-Africa based Pamodzi Investment raised a $1.3 billion mining-focused pan-Africa fund last year.  

Frequent ECP partner and competitor Actis is also raising a $1 billion infrastructure fund, but that fund will include investments in emerging markets outside Africa.