Gulf Capital, a Middle East investment bank has unfolded plans to expand its Private Debt business to Sub-Saharan Africa through an exclusive partnership with Serengeti Capital, an Africa-focused investment bank, with offices in Accra and London.
Gulf Capital’s private debt arm- Gulf Credit Partners, recently announced the close of its second fund known as Gulf Credit Opportunities Fund II, at $175 million.
The company’s first fund, which closed at around $221 million in 2013, is now fully invested.
Serengeti Capital will be advising on credit and investment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa for Gulf Capital’s second-generation private debt investment fund, which will also look at investing in defensive non- cyclical sectors in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.
The Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital, Dr Karim El Solh, said: “Sub-Saharan Africa has great economic and demographic fundamentals, coupled with a growing demand for private debt financing. It is today undergoing a rapid transformation towards urbanisation, supported by one of the fastest real GDP growths in the world, exceeding five per cent yearly for the next three years.
“Serengeti Capital is a dynamic partner that is deeply rooted in the African landscape and enjoys profound understanding of the African business and regulatory environments. Its solid track record, unparalleled network and comprehensive Sub-Saharan Africa coverage will help us unlock the African potential.”
Sub-Saharan Africa has positive demographics, with 40 per cent of the population under 16, and the highest urbanisation rates in the world, with over 50 per cent of Africans projected to live in cities by 2030. Countries in the Sub-Sahara today command large urban centers, with 52 cities having populations of 1 million or more, comparable to Western Europe.
The Managing Director and Head of Gulf Credit Partners, the Private Debt division of Gulf Capital which manages both GC Credit Opportunities Funds, Walid Cherif, said: “Appointing Serengeti Capital as our exclusive adviser and partner for Sub-Saharan Africa is in line with our strategy to expand our Private Debt platform to other emerging markets in addition to the current geographies we cover in MENA and Turkey.
“It is a trusted partner that enjoys extensive industry relationships and is uniquely positioned to add significant depth to our business on the Continent. Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and mid-market companies in Africa lack access to financing as banks tend to focus on asset-backed financing and blue chip companies.
“Together with Serengeti Capital, we can offer the most promising asset-light, mid-market growth companies flexible and bespoke financing solutions that will add substantial value to their businesses and help them capitalise on sector opportunities that Africa presents them with.
Starting with countries in the West Africa region, we will then expand across the rest of the Continent.”