Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia have backed the Aberdeen Standard Investcorp Infrastructure Partners (ASIIP) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region infrastructure investment fund.

AIIB said it has made a $90m (€77m) commitment to the ASIIP fund’s first close, adding that ASIIP had also received a capital commitment from PIF for up to 20% of the fund’s total size.

The fund targets health care, education, water, mobility and digital infrastructure assets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the wider MENA region.

Najeeb Haider, AIIB director-general, banking, said this is AIIB’s first commitment to an infrastructure fund in the region, which enhances the bank’s exposure and contributes to the diversification of the bank’s existing portfolio.

“By partnering with a leading global fund manager, the investments will also allow AIIB to leverage co-investment opportunities to acquire relevant market knowledge and gradually build sector expertise.

“Investing in infrastructure is critical for supporting the region’s long-term economic growth. AIIB’s participation will catalyze interest from Asian institutional investors in the Fund and unlock potential for the region’s infrastructure development,” Haider said.

Michael Fallon, chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investcorp Infrastructure Partners said: “When we launched ASIIP, we combined Aberdeen Standard Investments’ strong track-record of investing in social infrastructure projects with Investcorp’s long-standing experience in the region, creating a vehicle that invests in sustainable core infrastructure projects.

“With AIIB’s commitment, we will be able to contribute to the post-COVID-19 economic recovery in countries across the Middle East while generating value for our shareholders.” 

In February 2019, alternative investment manager Investcorp and Aberdeen Standard Investments, now abrdn, announced the creation of the venture to invest in social and core infrastructure projects in GCC countries.

The joint venture targets greenfield and brownfield social and core essential infrastructure assets in sectors including healthcare, education, utilities, social housing, smart cities, roads and rail.

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