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Abraaj closes sub-Saharan Africa fund, names MENA chief

  • Holds final close on $990 mln
  • Names Huda Al Lawati CIO for MENA 
  • Firm has made 67 investments in sub-Saharan Africa

European and North American investors committed 64 percent of the capital in the Abraaj Africa Fund III, with funding from global institutional investors, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds adding up to 76 percent, according to a statement from the firm. Abraaj did not disclose its own contribution to the fund.

In addition, the emerging market investor said it appointed Huda Al Lawati as a partner and chief investment officer for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Al Lawati was previously a managing director at Abraaj, having joined the firm in 2004 as an analyst. In her new role she is responsible for originating, executing and monitoring the group’s investments across the region, the firm said.

Africa “is a story driven by rapid urbanization and favourable demographics that are fuelling consumption across multiple sectors from an expanding, young middle class,” Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi said.

The new African fund will focus on well-managed, mid-market firms in sectors most likely to benefit from demand driven by the rapid expansion of a young, urban, middle class, Abraaj said, without naming specific companies.

The sectors include consumer goods and services, consumer finance, and resource and infrastructure services in the core countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa and Kenya.

Abraaj said it had deployed around $3 billion across the African continent, while in sub-Saharan Africa alone, it had made 67 investments with 30 full or partial exits.

(Reporting by Nadia Saleem and Tom Arnold, Reuters)