Dana Banks, Special Assistant to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senior Director for Africa for the White House National Security Council, on Tuesday, announced a pioneering investment at the Financial Times Africa Summit.
Caisse Régionale de Refinancement Hypothécaire (CRRH) – a West African mortgage refinancing company headquartered in Togo – is using Prosper Africa support to help raise more than $300 million to expand financing for West Africa’s homeowners. This investment will mobilize private capital into West Africa’s housing sector, significantly increasing access to affordable housing across the region—a critical intervention amidst COVID-19.
With technical assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a credit guarantee from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), CRRH will secure more than $300 million in private capital, including $256 million raised in the United States and $64 million in West Africa. This transaction is a win-win: it helps American investors access new investment opportunities in faster growing developing markets and provides an avenue for people in West Africa to build wealth as homeowners.
Homeownership is a powerful engine of wealth creation and a means to enhance the livelihoods of individuals and families, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, buying a home is a challenge in West Africa, and those who cannot buy a home in cash have limited options. Approximately 110 million people live in the eight countries that make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). While there is demand for about 800,000 new housing units annually, WAEMU banks issue only 15,000 new mortgages each year.
To meet the region’s surging demand for affordable housing, CRRH will use Prosper Africa support from USAID and DFC to issue a first-time bond on the U.S. market, enabling investors to access an untapped market while meeting their risk profiles. This bond issuance will enable banks in West Africa to access a deep well of liquidity in U.S. markets, and issue more mortgages with better rates and longer repayment timelines, making homeownership a reality for more families in West Africa.
USAID helped to identify and structure this deal, decreasing costs and making the transaction viable. With funding from USAID, investment advisory firms MiDA Advisors and CrossBoundary provided technical assistance to CRRH. A credit guarantee will reduce risk for investors. Bank of America and Brean Capital will act as placement agents, marketing the bond to investors.
American institutional investors, such as pension funds, mutual funds, and insurance companies, are facing low yields in developed markets. African capital markets offer institutional investors higher yields, but they can be more difficult to access and come with higher risks – both real and perceived. Support and risk mitigation from the U.S. Government, through the Prosper Africa initiative, makes it possible for investors to access these new opportunities.
Through the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign, USAID is committed to strengthening ties between African nations and the United States, spurring private investment at a scale that could never be matched by foreign aid alone. USAID is leveraging Prosper Africa to bring greater investment to the African continent, consistent with President Biden’s Build Back Better World (B3W) partnership.