EIB commits €30m to Meridiam Africa fund

The fund, which has a €300m target, is closing in on investment agreements in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar.

Meridiam, the Paris-based fund manager, has announced an agreed commitment of €30 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB) in its Meridiam Infrastructure Africa Fund.

In April this year, Infrastructure Investor reported that the fund – which is the manager’s first to target Africa – was getting nearer to a first close on the vehicle that would likely take it past the halfway mark on its €300 million target.

A request for up-to-date progress on the fundraising total had not received a response at the time of this story being published.

The fund will target between eight and ten projects in sectors including energy, education, transport, water and waste. In a statement, the firm said it was currently finalising investments in three projects: a solar photovoltaic scheme in Senegal, a university campus in Cote d’Ivoire and an airports renovation deal in Madagascar.

“The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting infrastructure investment that unlocks business opportunities, reduces costs and contributes to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and this new initiative firmly supports these goals,” said Pim van Ballekom, EIB vice president, in the statement.

Last year, the EIB committed more than €2.5 billion to support infrastructure and private sector investment across Africa.

The Meridiam fund is a 15-year vehicle that was officially launched in September 2014 and has been seeking commitments from pension funds, insurance companies and development finance institutions – with many of them expected to be investing in African infrastructure for the first time.

The fund aims to plug the ‘development gap’ holding back African infrastructure by bringing projects that have not yet been invested in to commercial and financial close. It is looking to hold significant equity stakes in mid-cap projects, the average size of which will be between €200 million and €700 million.

Founded in 2005, Meridiam has invested in 44 projects and manages assets of €3.2 billion. As well as Paris, it has offices in New York, Toronto and Istanbul.