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25 Apr 2024

Standard Bank mobilises market first debt fund to support up to $2bn sustainable infrastructure in Africa

Standard Bank has committed to Acre Impact Capital’s Export Finance Fund I to support the financing of sustainable projects in Africa.

Acre Impact Capital manages Export Finance Fund I LP that seeks to invest in climate-aligned and sustainable infrastructure projects in renewable energy, health, food, and water security, sustainable cities, and green transportation providing access to essential services to predominantly underserved communities across the continent.

Standard Bank is the largest commercial bank investor in the Fund which will see blended finance delivered at scale.

Greg Fyfe Head of Export & Agency Finance at Standard Bank Investment Bank said:

“As the largest African bank by assets, operating in 20 African countries we understood first-hand the importance of backing this unique fund as a platform for converging new sources of capital for investment on the continent”. 

He went on to say, “We are delighted to be part of this market first fund working with our partners at European Investment Bank, FSD Africa, Trimtab, Ceniarth and others. Acre’s backers collectively realise that this platform represents a new model for blending finance sources for Africa, with the potential to meaningfully address the funding gap for essential infrastructure”.

The investment in the Fund builds on Standard Bank’s position in Africa as the longest standing African arranger of multi-sourced export finance and a leading financial institution at the forefront of developing new financing solutions for public sector borrowers, in support of developing sustainable infrastructure on the continent.

By addressing the financing gap, the Fund can unlock various bankable projects to help them achieve financial close and provide much-needed essential, climate-aligned infrastructure to African countries.

The Fund will co-invest alongside well-established export credit agencies (ECAs) and international banks. ECAs play a critical role in pulling in the private-sector players in infrastructure projects in emerging and frontier markets by mitigating various types of potential risks for investors.

“The Fund’s investments will complement and are aligned with the bank’s own sustainable finance aspirations,” said Gregg Wheelwright, Senior VP of Project, and Export Finance at Standard Bank Investment Banking. “We look forward to seeing other investors join us in supporting Acre Impact Capital”.

Standard Bank has committed to support Africa’s transition to a lower carbon economy in line with the Paris Agreement.

Standard Bank’s investment was a catalyst to achieving the first closing of the Fund, which will help deliver up to $2bn  of highly impactful projects. The fund’s target size of $300 million will mobilize a total of $1.7 billion of private capital to deliver impactful Sustainable Development Goals-aligned projects in Africa.

 “We are delighted to have Standard Bank as one of our trusted partners as we strive to make a meaningful impact on the ground through our investments in climate-aligned essential infrastructure,” said Hussein Sefian, CEO of Acre Impact Capital.