Last week in brief...As we come to the end of the year, a significant new player in Africa's power generation ecosystem has emerged. Africa Finance Corporation and Harith General Partners are combining seven of their renewable and non-renewable assets to create Aenergi Holdings. The new company will focus on acquiring, owning and managing controlling interests in more African electricity sector assets once it has consolidated the initial assets. A listing on an international exchange is also expected at the earliest opportunity.

Stock Exchanges featured in a couple of other of the weeks deal stories. African Equity Empowerment Investments, a subsidiary of the Sekanjulo Group, is set to list AYO Technology on the JSE's main board in the coming week. According to the SENS pre-listing announcement, the firm is looking to raise R4.3 billion or approximately $327 million via a private placement, and reduce AEEI's holding by some 20%. That would leave the B-BBEE Group with a 49% stake in the ICT company.

In West Africa, Enko Capital announced it has now completed its deal to invest in Ecobank Côte d'Ivoire as it listed on the BVRM. The investment marks the first West African deal for Enko's $64 million private equity fund. The size of the stake Enko Capital acquired as part of the €68.6 million (approximately $80.5 million) IPO was not disclosed. Some 20% of the bank's shares were up for grabs in the offer, and they enjoyed an immediate bounce, rising 7.5% in value on the first day of trading.

The IFC is considering an equity investment in Branch International, a mobile lending company that provides consumers in East Africa with unsecured personal microloans. If approved, the fresh capital will be used to support the company's expansion plans. Backed by some high-profile Silicon Valley venture firms, Branch's mobile technology allows consumers to complete and submit a short personal loan application via their android phone and make their loan repayments using their mobile money account.

Impact investment firm Investisseurs et Partenaires announced that is has held the first close for its second African entrepreneur fund last week, garnering commitments from a mix of development finance institutions, corporations and private institutions as well as family offices and foundations. Some 50% of the close's investors have previously backed I&P's other funds. It's expected that the new fund will pursue a similar investment strategy to its €54 million predecessor, backing growing African small and medium-size enterprises in equity and quasi-equity deals ranging from €300,000 to €3 million in size.

Finally, we found some interesting external items to include this week. In a podcast, British development finance institution CDC talked about the opportunities and challenges facing the off-grid solar sector in Africa. The Brookings Institution has a piece on Blockchain and its application on the continent. And, in an AFK Insider column, Kurt Davis gives his opinion on the tech-enabled sectors in Africa that offer investors the most opportunity in 2018.

As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week’s preview issue of Africa Capital Digest.

Allan Cunningham

Allan Cunningham

Allan Cunningham is a senior media executive who has spent the last 15 years of his career working for some of the world’s most respected M&A and Private Equity media companies including Dow Jones’s publications Private Equity Analyst and VentureWire and most recently, The Deal. He has built a number of successful digital and event content businesses, both subscription and sponsor-supported, delivering information and content-marketing services to clients in the M&A and broader deal ecosystem. He recently struck out on his own and launched Rowayton Press, a multi-platform media company focused on the private capital opportunities in emerging and frontier markets. Mr. Cunningham holds a Bachelors degree from Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.

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