London, 24 May 2022 – Development Partners International (“DPI”), a premier investment firm focused on Africa with $2.8bn in assets under management including co-investments, today announced it is investing €60 million for a significant minority stake in high-growth financial services business, Groupe Cofina. This transaction will support the Company in its mission to accelerate growth for Francophone West and Central’s Africa’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – a critical sector helping to drive economic development in the region.
Founded in 2014 by Jean-Luc Konan and headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Groupe Cofina is developing solutions to bridge the “missing-middle” – the gap between microfinance and traditional institutional financing – and to serve consumer finance customers across Francophone West and Central Africa. Since creation, the business has grown rapidly, developing new, innovative products while providing companies the ability to scale, with almost 1.5 billion euros of credit allocated to date. Groupe Cofina has also significantly expanded its reach across the region – with presence today in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Gabon, Mali, Congo, Burkina Faso and Togo, through subsidiaries operating in each country. The business also has operations in France through a subsidiary approved by the local supervisory authority ACPR (Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution).
SME lending and microfinance is still relatively nascent in the region, and the sector remains underpenetrated with entrepreneurs and SMEs lacking access to high quality loans to scale their businesses. Today, it is estimated that only 20% of African SMEs have access to bank loans. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IFC estimated the financing gap for African SMEs at $331 billion. This, combined with positive market trends such as a youthful and fast-growing population, a rapidly emerging middle class, and increasing financial inclusion, has driven demand for Groupe Cofina’s products and services while providing significant runway for further growth.
The investment from DPI will support Groupe Cofina as it looks to cement itself as a regional leader – continuing its ambitious expansion plan and bringing the successful model from existing markets into new countries with similar demand in SME and consumer finance markets. The company will also look to increase investment in innovation, creating new flexible products that are both scalable and adaptable to evolving customer needs. As part of this, the partnership will also enable Groupe Cofina to launch new and differentiated services, gaining access to an even greater pool of potential customers.
Jean-Luc KONAN, Founder and Group Managing Director, Groupe COFINA, commented: “Despite the difficulties linked to the pandemic, Groupe Cofina has demonstrated its resilience and above all the relevance of its business model adapted to African ecosystems. It is on the strength of this success that we now have DPI, a highly experienced and trusted investor, by our side. As Groupe Cofina enters this next chapter, this transaction will allow us to strengthen our foundations to consolidate our positioning and accelerate our digital transformation.”
The announcement reaffirms DPI’s commitment to creating sustainable economic and societal impact across Africa, with financial inclusion critical to Africa’s social and economic development. By applying its Impact and ESG assessment framework, DPI will support Groupe Cofina to build greater resilience and sustainability by assessing the company’s broader impacts and helping it progress against the UN sustainable development goals.
As an active investor, DPI will partner with the experienced Groupe Cofina management team to accelerate its strategy while also supporting the company in creating lasting impact. Groupe Cofina has already demonstrated significant progress and commitment to areas such as gender diversity, and since 2014 has supported more than 250 000 clients of which 43% are women. The company has also achieved 2X status, as part of the global 2X initiative on gender, in recognition of the high proportion of women in senior leadership and the positive impact its products contribute towards female empowerment.
Babacar KA, Partner at DPI, stated: “Groupe Cofina is an exciting business that has seen significant evolution since it was founded, and under Jean-Luc’s leadership, has established itself as one of the leading players in the region. There is significant demand in the SME market for the products and services Groupe Cofina provides, that will help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, while also driving financial inclusion and creating a positive impact on African economies. The business is fast evolving into a technology-powered provider of financial solutions to the under-served mass market and we are excited to partner with Jean-Luc and his management team to accelerate this journey and bring his vision to life.”
DPI was advised by ASAFO & Co and KPMG.
Groupe Cofina was advised by ADNA.
Notes to editors
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