By Victoria Onehi
Proparco, a French development finance institution, has marked 15 years of operations in Nigeria with a total of USD 1B invested over the period.
Since its inception in Nigeria in 2008, Proparco has focused its efforts on partnering with local and Pan-African financial institutions, investment funds, growth stage companies as well as startups within the renewable energy, agribusiness and tech space. The goal of these investments is to improve the lives of Nigerians by providing access to essential needs such as electricity and financial services.
Proparco provides loans, equity, guarantees and technical assistance aimed at strengthening its customers’ financial capacity or bearing part of their risk. The bulk of its commitments are intermediated via Nigerian banks and investment funds, which finance SMEs and start-ups in key development sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, education, energy, and financial services.
The African private sector is at the core of Proparco’s work; of the 2.3 billion euros committed globally by Proparco in 2022, 45% was for businesses based on the African continent. In order to sustain this commitment, Proparco has over the years designed or enhanced various tools: (i) Digital Africa, a subsidiary that focuses on providing support to high impact digital tech startups; (ii) a venture capital activity focused on Africa, and (iii) Choose Africa, an initiative by the AFD Group which has committed 3.5 billion euros between 2018 and 2022 and supported more than 40,000 businesses and hundreds of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs.
“Africa holds the answers to many of the major challenges of the 21st century and unlocking its entrepreneurial dynamism is at the core of our strategy for the next five years,” said Proparco’s CEO Françoise Lombard during her visit to Nigeria. “This is why we aim to concentrate a large share of our resources in the continent. As we mark an important milestone in Nigeria, we are committing to support the African private sector more effectively by enabling entrepreneurs to unleash their potential”
The company in a statement disclosed that over the last 15 years in Nigeria, it has grown to become one of the prominent partners catalyzing growth in the finance, tech, energy, and climate sectors. Together with its mother company Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the group has successfully supported projects to develop and improve Nigeria’s energy infrastructure, including renewable energy and transmission and distribution networks.
Regional Director of Proparco in Nigeria ,Jean Guyonnet-Dupérat had this to say about the company.
“Nigerian business people are extremely bold entrepreneurs with an unshakable dynamism. Our commitment as financial partners is to build trust and support them with the expertise and financial tools they need to grow beyond their target. Together, we serve one common objective: building a prosperous and sustainable future.”