GuarantCo and Societe Generale will provide an up to XOF 37.8 billion (c. USD 63 million) financing solution to finance Spiro’s fleet of electric motorbikes in Benin and Togo

  • Date written
  • August, 2023

GuarantCo, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), in partnership with Societe Generale will provide an up to XOF 37.8 billion (c. USD 63 million) financing solution, with a first tranche of XOF 21 billion (c. USD 35 million), to support the financing of Spiro’s fleet of electric motorbikes as well as the associated batteries and swap stations in Benin and Togo. The funding comprises a 70 percent partial credit guarantee from GuarantCo and a borrowing base facility provided by Societe Generale. Through this funding, the financiers will take a significant stride towards supporting e-mobility in Africa.

Spiros fleet of electric motorbikes

E-mobility in Benin and Togo, and Africa in general, is still in its nascency but will offer huge benefits once the electric motorbike model has scaled up. This transaction will directly contribute to addressing the challenge of providing affordable, clean vehicles in Benin and Togo, and is expected to transform the market through wider demonstration and replication effects. The Spiro project is specifically targeted at motorbike taxi drivers of which there are an estimated 400,000 in Benin and Togo.

Spiro is looking to deploy at least 15,700 clean electric motorbikes with 31,400 electric batteries and more than 1,000 swap stations in addition to their existing operational fleet of 5,706 vehicles and around 130 swap stations. Through the project, up to 100 jobs will be created for the installation of charging stations and technical support, while an additional 3,710 operations and maintenance jobs are expected. Spiro is aiming to have a minimum of 30 percent women in their workforce including engineers, managers and technicians whilst providing technical and leadership programmes to enhance their skills. It is estimated to deliver a 96kt C02 equivalent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions so urban communities in particular will benefit from reduced air pollution as internal combustion engines are replaced.

The transaction will make a direct contribution to Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) 11.6: Reduce the environmental impact on cities and SDG 13: Limit and adapt to climate change.

Layth Al-Falaki, CEO of GuarantCo, said:

“We are delighted to have signed this transaction with Spiro, and to have further cemented our strong relationship with Societe Generale. This landmark electric mobility project will contribute to improving the environment to the benefit of the people of Benin and Togo and will directly contribute to addressing the challenge of providing affordable, clean vehicles in the two countries.  In addition, it will help transform the market through wider demonstration and replication effects.”  

Mohamed Fadel Kane, MD Structured Finance of Societe Generale Group, said:

“Consistent with our “raison d’être” at Societe Generale—to co-create with our clients a more sustainable and prosperous future by delivering innovative, responsible financial solutions—we are proud to propel the evolution of sustainable mobility in Africa. With the successful backing of Spiro’s significant initiative, we are demonstrating our steadfast commitment to shaping the future of finance in alignment with global sustainability goals. These clean electric motorcycles are not just a stride towards reducing our environmental impact; they promise to stimulate economic growth in Togo and Benin and to fulfil the pressing mobility needs of Africa. The project’s financing was significantly strengthened by our partner GuarantCo. This successful partnership testifies to our ability to forge robust alliance, reinforcing our commitment to deliver sustainable, high-impact transformation”. 

Jules Samain, CEO of Spiro, said:

“This pivotal partnership with Societe Generale and GuarantCo has accelerated our mission to tackle climate change, enhance public health, and empower Africa’s economies. By expanding our e-mobility footprint in Benin and Togo, we’re making significant strides in reducing greenhouse gases. This isn’t just about electric motorbikes; it is about envisioning a sustainable future for Africa and stimulating socio-economic growth through job creation and gender-inclusive employment. This alliance brings us a step closer to our goals, signalling transformative changes for Benin, Togo and beyond.” 

Abdoul Aziz Ba CEO of ATIF, said:

“This transaction is an important milestone for Spiro and as a sponsor and main shareholder of Spiro, we strive to channel global private capital and expertise to companies operating in Africa. It is very important also to provide growth capital to our investment portfolios via innovative structures with local and international financial investors. As such the financing close with Societe Generale and GuarantCo is a great partnership to promote clean energy and sustainable growth in Africa.”


About GuarantCo

GuarantCo mobilises private sector local currency investment for infrastructure projects and supports the development of financial markets in lower income countries across Africa and Asia. GuarantCo is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) and is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia and Sweden, through the PIDG Trust, the Netherlands, through FMO and the PIDG Trust, France through a stand-by facility and Global Affairs Canada through a repayable facility. GuarantCo is rated AA- by Fitch and A1 by Moody’s. GuarantCo’s activities are managed by GuarantCo Management Company which is part of Cardano Development


About PIDG

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is an innovative infrastructure project developer and investor which mobilises private investment in sustainable and inclusive infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia. PIDG investments promote socio-economic development within a just transition to net zero emissions, combat poverty and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of pioneering, partnership, safety, inclusivity and urgency.


PIDG offers Technical Assistance for upstream, early-stage activities and concessional capital; its project development arm – which includes InfraCo Africa and InfraCo Asia – invests in early-stage project development and project and corporate equity. PIDG credit solutions include EAIF (the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund), one of the first and more successful blended debt fund in low-income markets; GuarantCo, its guarantee arm that provides credit enhancement and local currency solutions to de-risk projects; and a growing portfolio of local credit enhancement facilities, which unlocks domestic institutional capital for infrastructure financing.


Since 2002, PIDG has supported 211 infrastructure projects to financial close, which provided an estimated 222 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany and the IFC.


About Spiro

Spiro is a leading electric motorbike manufacturer and clean energy provider in Africa, driven by a mission to address the climate emergency, improve public health, and stimulate economic growth in the region. With its innovative model of electric motorbike taxis, Spiro is reshaping transportation by replacing fossil fuel-based vehicles with clean, efficient, and affordable electric alternatives.


Founded just over a year ago, Spiro has already demonstrated its commitment to sustainable transportation by deploying nearly 10,000 electric bikes across the continent, providing more than 75 million kilometres of clean travel. The company’s operations span several countries, including Benin, Togo, Rwanda, and Uganda, where it has not only provided transportation solutions but also created numerous job opportunities and significantly reduced CO2 emissions.


Through strategic partnerships and investments, Spiro is expanding its reach, planning to add thousands of electric bikes and battery swap stations to its operations, thereby contributing to the socio-economic development and decarbonisation of Africa’s economy.


Driven by core values of sustainability, social responsibility, and innovation, Spiro is at the forefront of the e-mobility revolution in Africa, delivering a transformative impact on the climate, health, and economies of the countries it serves.


About ATIF

ATIF is an Africa-focused private investment fund based in Abu Dhabi Global Market, with the ambition to contribute to the sustainable industrialization taking place in Africa, by investing in integrated and sustainable industrial ecosystems. ATIF is the main sponsor and investor in Spiro and is committed to fostering green and inclusive growth in Africa. Through strategic investments, ATIF helps drive sustainable and impactful initiatives across the continent, focusing on projects that address key challenges and contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.


About Societe Generale Benin and Societe Generale Togo

Opened to the public in February 2003, Societe Generale Benin, the only international bank, has more than twenty years’ experience in local banking and service to the local economy.

Societe Generale Benin is a limited company with a Board of Directors and a capital of CFA 37 billion at December,31 2022.


In Benin, Societe Generale supports Beninese businesses by offering solutions tailored to their needs, in particular its regional platforms of expertise and its foreign exchange and structured finance solutions. The subsidiary intends to confirm its position as a benchmark bank by drawing on the Group’s expertise and the support of the West Africa Regional Division.


The Societe Generale Togo branch was set up in June 2015 with the aim of initially serving corporate customers and financial institutions and since January 2023, the Small and Medium Enterprises Both entities focus their development’s strategy on financing green impact business projects.