Mauritius-based Alteia Fund Management (Alteia), an alternative investment fund for Africa and the Middle East, is looking to further expand its offerings in the GCC with a focus on food security, Kevin Ramsamy, CEO of Alteia, told ISFI.
“We are in discussions with a few sovereign funds in the GCC area to leverage on Alteia’s footprint in Africa in order to secure key commodities and also provide opportunities for African producers, specifically for agricultural products to expand production and market reach,” Kevin shared.
According to Kevin, Alteia established its footprint in Saudi Arabia in Q2 this year, securing a license from the Capital Market Authority. Currently, the group is in the process of establishing a regulated office in the UAE.
Also in the pipeline is a carbon credit fund, which is on the company’s agenda for 2024.
As part of its growth strategy for the coming three to five years, Alteia will be focusing on Shariah compliant and ESG offerings. According to Kevin, this is driven by an increasing demand from investors with the twin criteria for their portfolios.
Noting that Shariah compliance and ESG are key for risk diversification in Africa, the CEO opines that Alteia’s investor base, its geographical location and the fact that liquidity is scarce for SMEs all contribute to the demand for the offering.
Expanding its footprint in Africa would also mean bigger opportunities for Islamic trade finance products. Trade finance is the group’s core business, which Kevin argues is an intrinsically Shariah compliant product and hence easy to structure into an Islamic deal.
Alteia was established early this year, emerging as a management buyout from Barak Fund’s founding partners.
Barak Fund, founded in 2008, notably received a US$60 million loan from the International Finance Corporation in 2018 for an SME financing project in the agricultural sector across sub-Saharan Africa.
Barak Fund, which previously had US$1 billion in assets under management (AuM), has been restructured following the buyout and is now operating as Alteia.
Currently, Alteia offers three types of funds: Shariah compliant funds, ESG compliant funds and funds compliant with both Shariah and ESG. Across its funds, it has AuM worth roughly US$200 million.
While offering both Islamic and non-Islamic funds, Kevin shared that it sees a strong base of Shariah compliant borrowers who are funded by conventional investors.