(Bloomberg) -- Buyout firm Convergence Partners raised $296 million to buy African technology assets, Chairman Andile Ngcaba said.
The capital raise, one of the first private equity funds secured for sub-Saharan Africa this year, will bring the total funds under management at Convergence to about $600 million, Ngcaba said in an interview. The new money is mainly from previous investors, development agencies and pension funds in the US, UK, Europe and Africa, he said.
“We are looking to invest in technology assets ranging from data centers to optic fiber on land and sea,” said Ngcaba. “We have already identified quite a pipeline of targets for the money.”
Africa has the fastest-growing population in the world, with more tech-savvy youth increasingly using their mobile phones to access services from banking to shopping. The continent needs another 700 data centers by 2030, and more broadly about $100 billion in investment by then to address the digital divide, said Ngcaba, referring to the gap between those who have access to computers and the internet, and those that don’t.
“That is the gap in investment, and Convergence want to be involved in providing some of the capital to address this,” he said.
While private equity deal-makers have raised hundreds of billions dollars in recent years to deploy across the globe, funds have been more cautious about investing in Africa. Some large firms, including Carlyle Group and Blackstone Inc., reduced their exposure to the continent.
Other funds such as Helios Investment Partners and Development Partners International LLP have deployed large amounts of capital on the continent. Late last year, Development Partners raised $900 million for African investments. Foreign interest by tech giants including Alphabet Inc., Amazon Web Services Inc., and Equinix Inc. has also been increasing.
“That contributes to a slowly maturing market, and also increases deal-making and exiting opportunities for private equity and others,” said Ngcaba.
Convergence has been operating in Africa for 20 years and previously invested in companies such as Vodacom Group Ltd. and Nedbank Group Ltd.