Mastercard’s Africa Growth Fund Fuels Entrepreneurial Spirit

The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund announced its strategic investments in three Investment Vehicles [IVs]: Chui Ventures, VestedWorld, and SME Impact Fund, bringing its total investments to five funds. This expansion underscores the Fund’s dedication to fostering impactful investments for sustainable economic growth in Africa.

Samuel Akyianu, the Fund’s Managing Director, expressed excitement about the new partnerships, emphasizing their role in promoting sustainable development in Africa.

In the past year, the Fund invested $2.2 million in Aruwa Capital Management in Nigeria and $5 million in Inua Capital in Uganda, supporting over 30 small and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs]. Inua Capital focuses on gender inclusivity, fair wages, and building a sustainable investment ecosystem. These investments address the challenges African funds face in securing financing due to perceived risks. The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund, as a Fund of Funds, plays a critical role in reducing these risks and driving economic transformation on the continent.

Chui Ventures, led by Joyce-Ann Wainaina, received a $9 million commitment from the Fund, aiming to reach a $20 million target. This investment will support gender-inclusive startups in Kenya and Nigeria. Wainaina, with her experience in global corporate banking, private equity, and wealth management, is poised to guide these startups.

VestedWorld, focusing on investments in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, received a $10 million commitment from the Fund. This Venture Capital Fund targets early-stage companies with high potential, aiming to create meaningful job opportunities, ensure fair wages, and stimulate economic progress.

The SME Impact Fund, based in Tanzania, will receive an $8 million commitment. It aims to address the financing challenges of smallholder farmers and SME food processors, thus unlocking the agricultural potential of smallholder farmers. Allert Mentink, the CEO of the SME Impact Fund, highlighted the partnership’s significance in transforming smallholder farmers’ lives and driving sustainable agricultural growth.

The Africa Growth Fund, an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation, is managed by Mennonite Economic Development Associates [MEDA] and a strategic consortium of partners. This consortium includes Investisseurs & Partenaires [I&P] as the Fund Advisor, ESPartners [ESP] as the Business Development Services provider, Criterion Institute as the Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion Partner, Genesis Analysis as a Measurement, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning Partner, and Africa Communications Group as a Communications and Public Engagement Partner. The Fund’s recent investments are expected to further expand its reach and impact, demonstrating the role of investment as a catalyst for change and reaffirming its commitment to the continent’s sustainable development.

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