By Amaka Agwuegbo
The Vice President ofÂ Â Alitheia Capital, Mr.Â Andre Wenger, has said that Nigeriaâ€™s share of the $50m fund pledged by the organisation for microfinance institutions in Ghana and Nigeria would be spent in providing start-up capital, assisting transforming NGOs and help grow microfinance institutions so as to attract more foreign grants.
Alitheia Capital, a leading provider of financial solutions and venture capitalists, in alliance with its foreign partners, Dutch-based Goodwell Investments BV and Ghana-based JCS Investments, in May, announced a $50m (N7.4bn) fund which is aimed at lifting microfinance institutions (MFls) in Nigeria and Ghana.
Speaking to Vanguard, Wenger said that Nigeria’s share of the fund is about $34m and like any venture capital fund, Alitheia is seeking to invest such fund in MFIs that have potentials and they would be considering three areas of supporting MFIs by providing capital and technical assistance; capital for transforming and/or start-up MFIs and on the ground support to management team; while making available access to the expertise and a global network of microfinance practitioners.
â€œWe want to support MFIs by providing start-up, which may include young MFIs. We want people who are innovative and can bring new ideas to the market, something that has not been done before. Presently in Nigeria, there are about 2 or 3 microfinance banks, MFBs, with such qualities and we would want the number to increase.â€
Continuing, Wenger said â€œThe second area is the transforming of non-governmental organizations, NGOs since a lot of them transformed after the policy was implemented. Alitheia would not only help provide capital to some NGOs that are in the process of transforming and donâ€™t have any best practices and operational structures in place, but we would help them understand the microfinance market as well as support them and the market. Not only would we help them finance their transitions, but also their operational management transitions.â€
â€œThe third are is the growth MFI. These are those you see in the market that have shown the ability to pull through. In all three areas, one thing we are looking out for is management. People that are really committed to microfinancing, have the history of performing well and are able to bring such qualities to the industry.â€
The objective of the fund, according to Alitheia and her partners, is to selectively invest in entrepreneurial MFls with the potential to generate attractive returns and positive social impact. Alitheia Capital is an investment manager and advisor which recently diversified into microfinancing with the aim of broadening the ownership of businesses and real estate.
Alitheia enables socially sustainable investing and provides the opportunity for investors across the economic pyramid to invest in key sectors of the economy via structured investment vehicles and is focused on channeling private equity investments into businesses and real estate assets.