SPE Capital raises $140 million to invest in North Africa’s small and growing businesses

Lucy Ngige
Guest Author

Lucy Ngige

Tunisia-based SPE Capital Partners launched in 2016 to provide growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses in North Africa and the Middle East. Then, much of the region was recalibrating after the Arab Spring political movements, only to be rocked again by the pandemic.

SPE’s first fund of $258 million invested in education, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer goods and essential services businesses in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. The fund manager has since expanded to Cote d’Ivoire, Jordan and Turkey, and also invests in French companies serving the region.

SBE has inked $140 million from the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets, FMO, EBRD, European Investment Bank and the International Finance Corp. for its third fund, which has a $350 million target. The IFC has earmarked $20 million for co-investments in SPE’s portfolio companies.

Investing in women

With the latest fund, SPE plans to invest in a dozen companies, allocating 25% of the fund for women-led ventures. The firm is a signatory of the Operating Principles for Impact Management and will track impact metrics around sustainable economic development, job creation, and gender and financial inclusion. It says the nine companies in its first fund’s portfolio employed 7,650 people, more than half of whom are women.

The portfolio included GlobalCorp, an Egyptian financial services provider for small businesses, and Amanys, a Moroccan pharmaceuticals producer and distributor. SPE exited Amanys in 2020.