African private equity fund manager Ascent has held the first rolling close of its Ascent Rift Valley Fund II (ARVF II) at more than USD100 million, significantly exceeding its initial target of USD80 million. The final close of ARVF II, with a target of USD120 million, is expected in December 2021.
ARVF II will invest equity in leading small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Eastern Africa, looking to take large minority or majority stakes. The fund will provide funding to scalable SME businesses, helping to drive wider business and industrial development, particularly targeting the financial services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade and services, education, healthcare, and agro-processing sectors. ARVF II seeks to invest in growing companies with the courage and ambition to become best-in-class, thereby creating a league of “regional enterprise champions” in East Africa. ARVF II has already made its first investment into financial services in January 2021.
Investors in ARVF II include leading Africa investors such as BIO (Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, CDC Group (the UK’s development finance institution), FMO (Dutch entrepreneurial development bank), IFC (the International Finance Corporation), Norfund (the Norwegian investment fund for developing countries), Proparco (a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) focused on private sector development through AFD Group’s FISEA fund), SDG Frontier Fund, impact investors and major Kenyan pension funds.
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