SIFEM - Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets


Bubenbergplatz, 11
3011 Bern
Tel: +41 31 310 09 30
Fax: +41 31 310 09 39

General Information

The Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) is the Swiss Development Finance Institution. SIFEM is fully owned by the Swiss Confederation and managed by Obviam, a privately owned management advisory group.

SIFEM provides long-term finance to private equity funds and financial institutions in emerging markets. SIFEM's primary focus is on institutions investing in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector. On a selective basis, SIFEM also invests in microfinance. As of December 31, 2010, SIFEM’s investment portfolio had commitments in excess of USD 430 million, covering more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern and South Eastern Europe and Latin America. SIFEM’s investment has benefited more than 300 SMEs in a variety of sectors.

SIFEM is a key pillar of the Swiss Confederation’s efforts to promote sustainable private sector-led growth in developing and transition economies with the goal of reducing poverty and contributing to increased living standards. Through its local partners SIFEM invests in companies that are most likely to be financially sustainable, and requires environmental, social and governance best practice. Moreover, SIFEM’s investments are development-oriented, aiming to achieve a broad set of objectives beyond the financial rate of return such as job creation, training, and sector deepening and diversification.

Obviam website:


SIFEM’s primary activity is investing into SME private equity funds in its target countries. Typically SIFEM invests between 5 and 7 million US dollars into private equity funds, taking stakes up to 30% of total fund size. On a selective basis, SIFEM also acts as lender to SME or microfinance banks or institutions, and in microfinance debt funds, where its loans may range up to 7.5 million US dollars. SIFEM can only invest in countries with GNI per capita below the World Bank’s IBRD graduation threshold (USD 6,725 as of 2010). The partner countries of Swiss development cooperation are treated with priority. At least 60% of SIFEM's investment volume in any year must be allocated to these priority countries.