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Africa Finance Corporation receives equity investments from CNPS, SBM

Africa Finance Corporation, the leading infrastructure solutions provider in Africa, has received new equity investments from Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale (CNPS), Cameroon’s public pension fund, and SBM Capital Market Securities Ltd., one of the leading investment-grade financial services providers in Mauritius, further expanding its shareholder base.

The investments mark a trend of African institutional investors—including pension funds, insurance companies and financial institutions—diversifying their portfolios from traditional asset classes such as bonds and listed equities to work with AFC on closing the continent’s infrastructure gap and unleash prosperity.

CNPS is the biggest pension fund in Cameroon, tripling its profits over the last five years; while SBM Capital Market Securities is a subsidiary of SBM Holdings Ltd., one of the largest and most diversified financial services providers in Mauritius, with nearly US$8.3 billion in assets under management. SBM joins a long list of investment-grade rated shareholders of AFC and is the second investor from Mauritius, following a subscription from the National Pensions Fund and Savings Fund in 2022.

Institutional investors in AFC include Public Investment Corporation (PIC) of South Africa, the Seychelles Pension Fund and the National Pension Fund (NPF) and National Savings Fund (NSF) of Mauritius. AFC offers shareholders risk-adjusted exposure to African infrastructure, with strong returns, low correlation to traditional asset classes, long-term stable and predictable cash flows, inflation hedging properties, and low default rates. The Corporation recorded an outstanding performance in its latest financial year, growing total assets by 23% to US$10.5 billion and increasing profit by 36% to US$285.9 million.

Diversifying the shareholder base with institutional investors like CNPS and SBM provides a significant boost to AFC’s capital profile, enhancing the Corporation’s capacity to deliver de-risked, transformational infrastructure projects. Recent projects include a joint development agreement with Trans Connexion Congo (TCC) to build mass transit in Kinshasa to improve mobility across the DRC, and the development of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with ARISE IIP and the government of Sierra Leone to maximize value capture and import substitution across core sectors.

In Cameroon, AFC has invested over US$300 million to date in infrastructure projects including the Nachtigal Hydro Power Company, a 420MW power station that will boost Cameroon’s installed capacity by 30% and slash the cost of power generation, and the modernization and expansion of Cameroon’s national refinery, Société Nationale de Raffinage (Sonara). Along with the equity investment, CNPS has signed an MOU with AFC to collaborate on identifying, developing and financing infrastructure and industrial projects in Cameroon.

The investment from SBM builds on existing ties between AFC and Mauritius, the domicile for subsidiaries AFC Equity Investment Limited and AFC Capital Partners. As of 2022, AFC Equity Investment Limited held more than US$1 billion of the Corporation’s equity investments, while AFC Capital Partners is the Corporation’s asset management company, focused on infrastructure and climate-resilient investments with an initial US$500 million target fund size.

The Director General of the CNPS, Noël Alain Olivier Mekulu Mvondo Akame, commented: “CNPS’s investment in AFC is in line with continued efforts to diversify our investment portfolio. We are proud to partner with a multilateral financial institution like AFC with an excellent track record of delivering transformational infrastructure projects with sustainable impact in Africa, whilst maintaining a prudent risk profile.”

Shailen Sreekeessoon, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of SBM (NBFC) Holdings Ltd., said: “We are delighted to partner with AFC, which has a proven history of leading innovative solutions for infrastructure and industrial development whilst creating strong values for its shareholders. Our investment will contribute to AFC’s efforts in fostering more robust pan-African collaboration to accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic growth across the continent. We are confident that this investment will help reinforce the partnership between our two institutions and look forward to a fruitful partnership ahead.”

Samaila Zubairu President & CEO, Africa Finance Corporation said: “African institutional investors play a critical role in mobilising the capital urgently needed for the continent’s development, so we warmly welcome CNPS and SBM Capital Market Securities as equity investors in AFC. This milestone is proof of AFC’s role as the partner of choice for infrastructure investment on the continent to deepen economic integration, enable import substitution, and develop Africa’s manufacturing and industrial capacity.”

AFC has been profitable every year since inception, growing from the initial seed capital of US$1.1 billion to a balance sheet size of about US$10.5 billion today. The Corporation’s A3 investment-grade rating from Moody’s has been reaffirmed nine years in a row, making AFC one of the highest-rated financial institutions in Africa. The Corporation has 40 member countries and has disbursed US$11.5 billion in critical infrastructure projects across Africa over the last 16 years of operation.

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