Interview with Denis Sireyjol Proparco Regional Head of Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean

My French Link > Investment

Denis Sireyjol Proparco

Tell us about yourself

I have 12 years of experience in corporate banking, project finance and private equity. I graduated from the ENSEEIHT engineering school, the ESSEC business school and I hold a Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence. I started in 2005 as a credit analyst in Allied Irish Banks. I joined Proparco in 2007 and held various positions: Junior Investment Officer in Madagascar, Investment Officer in Paris and Deputy Regional Head for South America, based in Brazil. I have been the Regional Head for Proparco in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, based in Johannesburg since 2014.

What is Proparco?

Proparco is a subsidiary of the AFD Group, which stands for Agence Française de Développement, or the French Agency for Development in English. Proparco is fully dedicated to financing private sector companies that have a positive impact on sustainable development. Proparco will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2017. We operate in 80 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and French overseas territories. Proparco finances banks and companies that are active in key development areas, such as renewable energy, infrastructure, agribusiness, manufacturing, the financial sector, health and education.

Proparco agriculture

What does Proparco offer?

I think that Proparco’s main mission is to show that the private sector can have amazing impacts on sustainable development goals, such as reducing poverty or fighting all types of inequality. This is what Proparco is all about, identifying private sector champions to help them grow and meet developments targets.

Proparco offers long term financing in the form of debt, equity and quasi-equity to private companies that have expansion projects or growth plans. We have a range of clients including banks, private equity funds, large energy generation projects or corporates active in agribusiness, health or education. We generally offer financing from 5 to 50 million Dollars or Euros.

Proparco Health

What type of impact are you looking for?

Each country and industry has its own challenges. One of South Africa’s greatest challenges is to fight unemployment and inequality. For example, in 2015, Proparco’s financing contributed to creating and maintaining 1 million jobs, 120k of which were in companies directly financed by Proparco. In addition to financing, Proparco’s role and added value involves encouraging companies and financial institutions to act responsibly within the countries where they are established. We try to assist our clients in improving their environmental practices (reducing greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy development), social practices (improving working conditions and fighting against discrimination) and governance (transparency of information and fighting against corruption).


Proparco Women

What do you like about South Africa?

Business-wise, South Africa is such an important place for Proparco. We opened our office in Bryanston, Johannesburg 22 years ago. The African continent has always been and will continue to be the top priority region for Proparco. South Africa has a special role to play within the continent: it’s a platform to grow pan-African business and it’s a land of innovation. South Africa is overflowing with intense entrepreneurship skills and willingness.

What do you miss the most about France?

I have both French and Brazilian citizenship. I have lived in 6 different countries; France, England, Madagascar, Benin, Brazil and now South Africa. I have traveled to more than 50 countries for business purposes and closed deals in nearly half of them. So, as much as I like France, I feel I have become a global citizen now.