African private equity fund manager Ascent has announced the first rolling close of its Ascent Rift Valley Fund II (ARVF II) at more than US$100 million, which will be used to invest in small and medium-sized enterprises in East Africa.
Ascent said ARVF II significantly exceeded its initial target of US$80 million, with the final close of ARVF II, with a target of US$120 million, expected in December 2021.
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 has already made its first investment, into financial services, in January 2021.
Investors in ARVF II include leading Africa investors such as Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, the UK’s development finance institution CDC Group, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Norwegian investment fund Norfund, and Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
“We are proud to have raised this additional capital from prominent investors to invest in Africa’s most promising companies,” said David Owino, founding partner of Ascent. “We are now well positioned to become the leading SME fund manager in East Africa, empowering ambitious entrepreneurs with capital and knowledge from our local advisory teams.”