MOBILIST set to invest in African climate investment fund

10th Aug 2022

This article was originally published by MOBILIST on 9th of August 2022 here.

Through the MOBILIST programme, the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will invest $7 million in a climate-focused and Africa-dedicated private equity fund.

The Helios Investment Partners (Helios) and InfraCo Africa’s Climate Energy Access Resilience (CLEAR) Fund, advised by Helios, will invest and develop sustainable, climate-aligned companies and assets to accelerate decarbonisation in Africa and build climate resilience while delivering returns for investors.

InfraCo Africa, a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, and Helios Investment Partners jointly participated in the FCDO’s MOBILIST Competition, which sought to identify outstanding sustainable infrastructure propositions to list on international and local exchanges. Meeting MOBILIST’s development and commercial criteria for investment, the CLEAR Fund successfully completed an exhaustive process and will now receive investment from the UK government.

Once it reaches sufficient maturity and growth, the CLEAR Fund plans to list its assets on a major stock exchange. FCDO’s investment accords with MOBILIST’s mission to identify and support emerging and frontier market investment opportunities that intend to mobilise public market capital at scale and deliver development impact.

The CLEAR Fund Offering

CLEAR Fund blends Helios’ private equity, InfraCo Africa’s unique development finance and MOBILIST’s public market mobilisation expertise.

InfraCo Africa is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), a development finance institution funded by the UK government alongside the Swiss and Dutch governments. Since 2004, InfraCo Africa has mobilised over $1.2 billion of capital into sustainable infrastructure projects with over 100 MW of renewable power completed and operational and a further 640 MW of renewable power under development.

With $3.6 billion of assets under management, Helios has made investments in 34 companies operating in over 30 countries across Africa. Founded in 2004, Helios has significant experience in sustainable investing including infrastructure, energy access and agri-solutions. Helios is the largest emerging markets-focused private equity firm to receive B Corp certification.

A flagship UK government programme, MOBILIST supports investment solutions that help deliver the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the climate transition. With capital from the UK government, MOBILIST invested seed capital in ThomasLloyd Energy Impact Trust. The Asia- and renewable energy-focused trust successfully listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2021. CLEAR Fund will represent MOBILIST’s second of a series of investments to enable public market listings.

Demonstrating New Exit-Mobilisation Strategies

InfraCo Africa and Helios Investment Partners are exploring the possibility of seeding the CLEAR Fund with some of the assets InfraCo Africa is currently constructing and operating. Through this process, the CLEAR Fund will provide private investors access to mature, high-quality assets curated by a UK-backed development finance institution and managed by a leading specialist African private equity manager.

CLEAR Fund has the ambition to list on a public exchange. InfraCo Africa’s and Helios’ trailblazing transaction, catalysed with MOBILIST’s support, demonstrates a pathway for Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to sustainably exit their assets. This process of “exit-mobilisation” is core to MOBILIST’s mission and was the subject of MOBILIST’s first commissioned research report.

The Rationale

African economies are amongst the world’s fastest-growing. Energy consumption and carbon emissions typically grow in tandem with fast economic development.

African countries require access to high-quality and scalable capital to facilitate a green, low-carbon future that propels rapid economic growth, employment and development across the continent.

The Clear Fund will look to accelerate and decarbonise Africa’s economic growth whilst increasing the ability of local communities to adapt to a changing climate and environment.

CLEAR co-Head, Tavraj Banga said:Helios is delighted to partner with InfraCo Africa and the FCDO through MOBILIST as anchor investors in the CLEAR Fund. This will play a significant role in catalysing institutional private and public capital commitments to CLEAR – such innovative public-private partnerships will be key to unlocking capital to accelerate the climate transition in Africa, while enabling sustainable development to realise the continent’s economic potential.”

InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes said: “By working alongside Helios to design the CLEAR Fund, we have brought together Helios’ deep expertise of fund management and generating growth with our proven track record in developing greenfield infrastructure in frontier markets, with a strong focus on development impact. The result of this collaboration is an innovative fund which addresses today’s global challenges around climate change and the need for transparent, sustainable investment opportunities. CLEAR also offers a new opportunity for African infrastructure developers, such as ourselves, to either sell down equity and recycle development funding or to secure a credible partner to support future growth. CLEAR provides a missing piece of the puzzle and one which will be critically important if we are to accelerate action on climate change whilst also closing the infrastructure gap in Africa. With backing from PIDG, InfraCo Africa has committed $43 million as an anchor investor to the CLEAR Fund. MOBILIST plans to invest a further $7 million as seed capital.”

Ross Ferguson, who leads FCDO’s MOBILIST programme notes: “Collaboration between development finance institutions and the private sector is critical to directing investment towards sustainable development and the climate transition in emerging and frontier markets. The partnerships behind CLEAR Fund show how public sector finance can work effectively with the private sector to ‘exit’ their investments and mobilise private capital into African economies.”

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