Resources created and curated to support the growth of impact investing, for those new to the field and for experienced practitioners.
An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers
Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) is an impact investment group created in 2002 with a well-established track-record of investing into small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the Indian Ocean. I&P believes that these enterprises actively contribute to a sustainable and inclusive growth on the continent, both directly through the products and services they provide to the local market, and indirectly through the inclusion of social and environmental considerations in the daily management of their businesses.
As of today, I&P has invested in more than 100 SMEs located in 16 countries, mostly in fragile states in Francophone Africa. These enterprises create local added value and long-term employment, and generate important social, environmental and governance impacts.
The team comprises about seventy staff working in Paris and in seven African offices in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar, Niger and Senegal.
I&P aims to promote a new generation of African entrepreneurs and contributes to build local ownership of the African growth. I&P provides financial and managerial support to African SMEs belonging to “the missing middle”, which, despite their tremendous impact on local economies, often lack access to skills and long-term finance.
I&P’s characteristic is to target the “missing middle” of the African economic fabric: SMEs with financing needs below € 5m and with a focus on francophone Sub-Saharan Africa where long-term funding solutions for SMEs are almost nonexistent.
I&P targets African small and medium businesses managed by local teams and entrepreneurs. Most of them suffer from a very limited access to the formal financial sector (too big for Microfinance Institutions and considered as too risky by banks and other traditional investors) and look for strategic guidance and technical assistance to grow and scale up.
I&P has developed an innovative investment approach adapted to these targets. I&P invests minority equity and quasi-equity stakes in start-ups and growing SMEs with financing needs ranging from €30,000 to €3 million. The team develops long-term partnerships with the entrepreneurs, sharing management expertise, networks and knowledge that is useful for improving business strategy, formalization, and performance.
Standing as one of the pioneers in impact investing in Africa, I&P operates where few investors are willing and equipped to go, supporting small businesses of the missing middle in fragile African countries. While most private equity transactions occur in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, I&P mainly operates in Francophone West and Central Africa and in the Indian Ocean.
I&P also differentiates itself by its active advocacy policy, designed to promote African entrepreneurship and the emergence of innovative financing solutions. I&P contributes to several key impact networks and is B Corp™ certified. The team published regularly reports and studies relying on specific research and its own long-standing experience.
I&P invested in Enko Education in 2016. Founded by Cyrille Nkontchou and Eric Pignot, Enko Education aims to build one of the largest African networks of private schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. Enko provides access to renowned and high quality training to facilitate access to international universities. It is partnering with existing high schools to develop a 3-year program to obtain an "International Baccalaureate" (IB) accreditation, widely recognized by international universities.
I&P decided to support Enko Education to increase access of African students to international universities, where they are still under-represented. This partnership aims to develop a network of 30 schools and directly impact the lives of 10,000 students over 5 years.
Jean-Michel Severino – CEO More Info
Jean-Michel has been the Managing Director of I&P since 2011. He previously held the position of Vice-President for East Asia at the World Bank (1996-2000) and Chief Executive Officer of the French Development Agency (AFD) from 2001 to 2010. In 2014, he was a member of the UN General Secretary’s eminent persons’ panel on the new Sustainable Development Goals. He co-authored “Africa’s moment” (2012, with O. Ray) and “Entreprenante Afrique”( 2016, with J. Hajdenberg).
Sébastien Boyé – CIO More Info
Sebastien joined I&P in 2002. He has been involved in I&P’s development since its inception. Sébastien oversees I&P activities with the support of local teams in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and the Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Niger Mali). He lived in Ghana for 3 years to launch I&P activities in the country and set up the new local office. Prior to joining I&P, Sébastien’s experience was mostly in the banking sector. He was a Corporate Credit Analyst at BNP Paribas in Paris and Los Angeles. He is a co-author of “The guide of Microfinance”, first published in 2009. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/sebastien-boyé-8824198/ JÉRÉMY HAJDENBERG Jeremy joined I&P in 2004. He is responsible of I&P portfolio in Senegal, Benin, Mauritania and East Africa. He has managed I&P operations’ development in Eastern Africa since 2012. He previously worked as the managing director of a microfinance program in Manila, Philippines (2001-2003). He co-authored the book ‘’Entreprenante Afrique’’ with Jean-Michel Severino, published in 2016.
Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
I&P supports initiatives with a strong social impact on the real economy, mainly in poor and fragile countries on the African continent, and partners with responsible companies that promote inclusive growth and have a strong potential for impact on their local stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers and distributors, governments, etc. Our impact strategy is based on four key pillars: employment, local communities (meeting demand for essential goods and services), climate and gender equality.
Before any investment, I&P assesses the potential impacts of the company. The team uses an impact screening scorecard to check that the investment project is in line with the fund’s core impact objectives and to identify ways to improve the project’s overall impact with an action plan.
I&P’s investment approach is based on a rigorous methodology, which takes into account ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) risks and opportunities throughout the investment cycle. The team conducts an in-depth analysis of ESG-related matters, evaluating the social, environmental and governance performance of the project. The aim is not to penalize SMEs’ practices but rather to work with the entrepreneurs to identify areas for improvement. We establish priority action points for the main challenges and everything is formalized in an ESG action plan.