SIFEM continues to play a counter-cyclical role in promoting growth and job creation in a region where private investors are still reluctant to invest. Following an economic downturn in the wake of the Arab Spring, from which the region continues to recover, North Africa’s economy is now facing the impact of COVID-19. The private sector remains a crucial element in the required transition to inclusive economies that provide opportunities and jobs. Private equity can bridge these gaps by providing expansion capital, helping businesses grow in line with ESG international standards, connect companies to new markets, and ultimately create opportunities for the region’s unemployed workforce in the formal economy.
Of note, AIF I will have a significant exposure to the healthcare sector and is recognised as a SIFEM investment with an expected long-term development impact of supporting private sector solutions that provide for increased access to healthcare. Specifically, the Fund will seek to increase the availability of safe and affordable medicines through local manufacturing of high-quality products with a lower price compared to branded and imported products. This sector focus is especially important in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
SPE Capital, the Fund Manager, is also committed to promoting gender parity and enhancing women’s economic participation by developing a robust gender policy and setting ambitious targets which cover its own and its investees’ operations. In its recognition of SPE Capital’s commitment to gender and acknowledgement of the impact potentials on women, particularly in North Africa, SIFEM has qualified AIF I for the 2X Challenge.
The investment will contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 (good health and well-being) through its healthcare focus, will empower women and support gender equality (SDG 5) and will create and support decent work opportunities (SDG 8).