The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$20 million equity investment in ARM-Harith Infrastructure Fund (ARMHIF).
ARMHIF is a new infrastructure private equity fund based in Nigeria with a targeted fund size of US$250 million.
Analysts said the lack of efficient infrastructure is a major obstacle to doing business in West Africa, and that better infrastructure in the region would create an enabling environment for economic growth by competitiveness of local production, promoting foreign direct investments and facilitating trade.
The fund was created because the level of investment required for infrastructure development is far in excess of public and donor resources. It will invest, through equity, in assets across a range infrastructure sectors including energy, transport, ICT, water and utilities across West Africa.
ARMHIF is sponsored by Asset and Resource Management Company Ltd (ARM), a leading Nigerian non-bank financial services company established in 1994 and currently managing over US$2.7 billion of assets.
ARM has formed a partnership with Harith General Partners (Harith), an experienced infrastructure investment manager on the continent, to manage the Fund.
Harith already manages the US$630 million Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF).
AfDB said its support to ARMHIF will catalyse further resources necessary to develop infrastructure projects.
“The Bank’s support to ARMHIF will contribute toward the delivery of modern and reliable infrastructure that will reduce the cost of doing business and enhance the region’s competitiveness,” said Mouhamadou Niang, Acting Director of the AfDB’s private sector department.
Also commenting on the Fund, Opuiyo Oforiokuma, Managing Director, ARM Infrastructure, said:“We are very pleased to have an institution of the calibre of the AfDB as an anchor investor in our new Fund. AfDB has been instrumental in attracting the interest of other investors, including Nigerian Pension Funds, a sector that has a significant role to play in providing long term capital for funding Infrastructure development in Nigeria and beyond.
”We see tremendous Infrastructure investment opportunities throughout West Africa. Having the equity capital to deploy is an important part of the equation,” Oforiokuma said.