This week marked a key milestone for the Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund (the Fund) as it announced the growth of its investment portfolio from two funds to five at SuperReturn Africa in Cape Town. The Fund’s new investments in Chui Ventures, VestedWorld, and SME Impact Fund aim to catalyze economic transformation across the continent through African-owned and operated investment vehicles.
“We are excited to welcome Chui Ventures, Vested World, and SME Impact Fund to our expanding family of investment vehicles. These strategic partnerships represent our ongoing commitment to fostering sustainable development in Africa through impactful investments.”– Samuel Akyianu, Managing Director, Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund
The role of investment vehicles in catalyzing entrepreneurship
Many small and medium-sized businesses across Africa struggle to access financing to scale their businesses and create employment opportunities. In parallel, funds that are owned and led by African entrepreneurs have traditionally been considered high risk by investors. The Fund addresses these challenges by working through African investment funds as vehicles to de-risk the funds and support African entrepreneurs. The three newly approved investment vehicles are important additions towards achieving this goal.
Introducing the Fund’s new investment vehicles
Chui Ventures is an investment company that backs remarkable early-stage African startups. The investment vehicle is led by Joyce-Ann Wainaina, who is committed to funding gender-inclusive startups across the continent, and a team with experience in global corporate banking, private equity, and wealth management. The Fund has committed $9 million towards the $30 million fundraising target set by Chui Ventures.
Nneka Eze, General Partner and Managing Partner of VestedWorld also has strong ambitions to drive economic transformation across the continent by catalyzing job creation. VestedWorld invests in top entrepreneurs who are building businesses in the key sectors of agribusiness, consumer products, and technology across Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria. The Fund has committed $10 million to VestedWorld as the vehicle’s first institutional investment.
An additional $8 million has been approved for SME Impact Fund, which addresses the financial challenges of smallholder farmers and unlocks their agricultural potential by financing the small and medium-sized agricultural processors they work with. SME Impact Fund Chief Executive Officer, Allert Mentink, believes that this is a key means to tap into the large potential of smallholder farmers across Africa who face financial constraints.
These three new investment vehicles build on the Fund’s success investing in Aruwa Capital Management and Inua Capital. By approving these new investments, the Fund hopes to further catalyze its impact on business growth and job creation for African entrepreneurs.
The Africa Growth Fund is a $200 million impact investing initiative of the Mastercard Foundation that is implemented by MEDA, along with a strategic consortium of partners. Its partners include Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) as Fund Advisor, ESPartners (ESP) as Business Development Services (BDS) Provider, Criterion Institute as Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion Partner, Genesis Analysis as Measurement, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning Partner, and Africa Communications Group as Communications and Public Engagement Partner.