January 25, 2018 / 3:01 AM / a year ago

ICD to launch $1 bln Africa infrastructure fund

SYDNEY, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) aims to raise $1 billion for a new sharia-compliant fund that will focus on infrastructure projects across Africa.

The plan follows a shareholder agreement signed between the ICD, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank , and the private equity arm of India’s Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Group.

The fund will launch with $105 million in seed capital and expects to close its initial round of fundraising in the first half of the year, the ICD told Reuters.

The fundraising effort was expected to take approximately 18 months after the first round was closed, the ICD said.

Power and transport would be the main sectors for the fund, which would finance small to mid-sized projects in ICD member countries, with a focus on Africa.

The ICD was established in 1999 and supports the economic development of its 53 member countries. In recent years it has sought to widen the appeal of Islamic finance across Africa, home to a quarter of the world’s Muslims.

The ICD has advised several African governments on their plans to issue Islamic bonds, or sukuk, with Senegal, Nigeria and Ivory Coast among those that have tapped the market.

Last month the ICD extended a $100 million financing facility to the Cairo-based African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Eric Meijer

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