Paladin Capital Group, a US firm, and Abu Dhabi\'s Invest AD, plan to launch a US$100m private equity fund to invest in companies in fast-growing economies in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, the two companies said on Monday. Private equity investment in the region is showing slow signs of revival after activity hit a slump in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008. Several mid-sized deals have taken place regionally this year as companies look for capital to expand businesses. \"Small-and medium-size companies are the backbone of the region\'s economy, and they are hungry for capital to expand, operationally and geographically, in the process creating jobs and increasing profits,\" Michael Steed, founder and managing partner of Paladin, said in a statement. The fund will be launched in a joint venture agreement between the two firms. Washington-based Paladin has about US$1bn of committed and invested capital across multiple funds and has invested in over 50 portfolio companies. Invest AD is owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC), which focuses on countries closer to home and is a separate entity from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world\'s largest sovereign wealth funds.