UGFS and TLG Capital announced the first close of the Empower Fund initiated by the CDC Tunisia.
The fund is mandated to invest in SMEs, particularly those with strong potential to scale across the region and the rest of Africa. The fund will use debt and mezzanine structures with strong equity upsides embedded with the aim of achieving equity-like returns but with a lower risk profile.
Financial and social returns will be considered hand in hand, and the fund, alongside being Gender 2X compliant, will seek to address UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. Both TLG and UGFS are longstanding investors in the region and the two managers bring complimentary skillsets – with TLG having a pan-African outlook alongside strong structuring and legal emphasis and with UGFS having offices on the ground in Tunis and providing pipeline and general North African access.
TLG Capital invests in small and medium enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa with the belief that commercial and social returns go together. The firm has invested in over 30 deals to date and exited over 20. UGFS manages c. TND 150M in assets, is a subsidiary of Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) and has launched 14 funds and funded more than 120 projects to date, solely focused on the Tunisian market.
Mohamed Salah Frad, General Manager of UGFS, said “We are proud to be part of this initiative that confirms our position as a leading actor in financing of SME’s and innovation in Tunisia. This also affirms our role and know-how in supporting and accompanying Tunisian SMEs as well as our vision to be among the active players in the ecosystem to support and boost the national economy and facilitate job growth alongside our partner TLG Capital. This new project is in line with our strong partnership with the CDC Tunisia that aims to help mid-sized Tunisian companies to achieve operational excellence, compete internationally and provide superior returns for our investors.”
Zain Latif, Partner, and Co-Founder of TLG, said “It is a pleasure to have reached the first close. We look forward to helping structure sound investments into SMEs that will accelerate recovery and growth in a post-Covid environment. TLG has traditionally focused on sub-Saharan Africa, and it is therefore a pleasure to expand our geographic remit as a firm, and, to reach firms in Tunisia with expansion potential. We hope to help those looking to explore growing across the continent. UGFS’s focus on creating a positive social return via the Empower Fund, and on working closely with CDC, also speak to TLG’s mandate, and we look forward to a bright future together. We believe UGFS is the right North African partner to help drive TLG’s growth across the continent in the coming years.”