By Olufemi Terry

Ghanaian businesswoman and entrepreneur Roberta Annan earlier this week launched a €100 million fund to channel investment into small and medium African creative and fashion enterprises. The Impact Fund for African Creatives(link is external) (IFFAC),will award grants of up to €50,000 to selected projects to accelerate development of the continent’s creative sector.

The fund was launched at a ceremony held on Monday 4 October, 2021, during Paris Fashion week, and was attended by fashion industry experts.  Chinelo Anohu, Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum also attended. The Africa Investment Forum, a flagship initiative of the African Development Bank, aims to channel investment into Africa.

Annan, who also founded the African Fashion Foundation, said that, in addition to grants, IFFAC will make a further €250,000- €2 million in venture capital available to African entrepreneurs who complete its skills-building program. “I have encountered so much incredible talent all over the continent, such originality and innovation,” said Annan. “But I have also noticed a lack of management skills, infrastructure, and start-up capital necessary to scale these creative businesses. This is the motivation behind IFFAC.”

Anohu said the Africa Investment Forum has been in talks with IFFAC as it curates projects that will feature at its upcoming AIF 2021 Market Days to be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, from December 1-3.

“I applaud IFFAC for its plans to bring early-stage capital deployment, along with a structured program of training and mentorship to artists and entrepreneurs like Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize,” said Anohu. “For all those investors in this room, who believe, like I do, in the potential for commercializing the exports of Africa’s creative genius, I invite you to contact the Africa Investment Forum.”

Ize, a beneficiary of the Impact Fund program, also attended the launch, after last week becoming the first African to open Paris Fashion Week.

Africa’s creative industry is an increasingly important part of the investment mix for the future of the African economy;  The Forum’s 2021 Market Days will showcase creative and cultural-sector deals from around the continent, including in film and television, as well as women-led projects, among other sectors.

While in Paris, Anohu also met European investors, including institutional investors, that are actively interested in Africa’s creative industry, as well as other key priority sectors under the Forum’s Unified Covid-19 response(link is external) pillars. These sectors include technology, renewable energy and agro processing.

About the Africa Investment Forum

The Africa Investment Forum is a multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary platform that advances private and public-private-partnership projects to bankability, raises capital, and accelerates deals to financial closure. A flagship initiative of the African Development Bank, the Forum was launched in 2018 with seven other founding partners: Africa 50; the Africa Finance Corporation; the African Export-Import Bank; the Development Bank of Southern Africa; the Trade and Development Bank; the European Investment Bank; and the Islamic Development Bank.