The first-generation fund targets high-growth SMEs and middle market businesses operating in the consumer-facing and financial services sectors
The fund will boost post-pandemic economic recovery across West African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and other Francophone West African markets
Uhuru Investment Partners, a leading middle-market private equity firm based out of Lagos and Abidjan, has announced the first close of Uhuru Growth Fund I (UGF) at US$113 million, with capital support from CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution (DFI), along with other DFI partners, commercial and Impact Investors.
Uhuru Growth Fund’s capital will support enterprises that boost job creation, increase access to goods and services in consumer staples, and enhance access to healthcare and fintech sectors.
With a target final close of US$200 million, the first-generation fund will invest across the West African region including Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and other Francophone markets.
In addition to CDC, Uhuru Growth Fund is backed by commercial investors AfricaGrow and Kuramo Capital, in addition to DFIs including European Investment Bank, DEG, SIFEM and Finnfund.
Commitment from Uhuru’s partners will provide the vital capital to support local businesses’ economic revival from the COVID-19 pandemic and boost trade across the continent.
Having forged a partnership over the years, CDC has supported Uhuru in mobilising DFI and commercial capital and has worked with the GP to improve governance and implement Business Integrity and Environmental and Social (E&S) best practice.
Given Uhuru’s unique position in the market and competitive grasp of the fastest-growing economies across the ECOWAS region, the firm expects to unlock further capital for deployment as it evolves as an institution.
UGF will leverage the expertise of Uhuru Investment Partners’ indigenous-African team, track record of investments in the region, their robust local networks and extensive knowledge of West Africa’s markets.
The Managing Partner of Uhuru, Dr. Yemi Osindero, said: “We are delighted to reach the first close of our fund. We are immensely grateful for the unwavering support of our investors in what has been a challenging fundraising environment. We look forward to positively impacting the growth of West Africa’s economies by supporting local companies in our target sectors, helping them grow into regional champions, and creating new, high-quality jobs.”
Also, the Partner of Uhuru, Nana Adow Dankwa, said: “The launch of our fund shortly after the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area is auspicious because it allows us to capitalise on new opportunities for our portfolio companies to access regional markets. We are excited about the prospects for deepening intra-regional trade across our markets.”
Jean-Michel Kamanan is also a partner of Uhuru. He said: “The presence of Uhuru’s key executive and operational teams in Abidjan, Accra and Lagos is a huge asset, enabling the team to effectively source investment opportunities in the Anglophone and Francophone economies of West Africa. Uhuru’s presence in the region’s largest and leading commercial hubs also enables us to get actively involved in the operations of our portfolio companies across the region.”
Speaking also, the head of CDC Nigeria Office and Coverage Director, Benson Adenuga, said: “Despite the challenging fundraising climate, Uhuru Growth Fund is well-positioned to deliver on a shared objective to provide critical private capital to help finance businesses and promote resilience and long-term growth in markets across the West African region. Our commitment will provide critical support in the economic recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, by providing growth capital and value addition to SMEs and mid-cap companies with a primary focus on consumer staples, healthcare and fintech across West Africa.
“CDC recognises that SMEs are the lifeblood of Africa’s economies and Uhuru’s ambition aligns with our 2021 commitment to support promising enterprises and drive inclusive growth and job creation across the continent, by investing over US$1 billion in Africa,” Adenuga added.