Sub-Saharan Africa

Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund

2022 - 2030

The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund is a bold initiative—a USD$200 million Fund of Funds—that works through African investment funds to support early-stage, growth-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on the continent.



The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund’s goal is to provide dignified and fulfilling work for young people, particularly young women.

The Fund of Funds is catalytic, helping to bring in additional capital for African entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs. It strengthens and de-risks African investment funds committed to advancing gender equity in entrepreneurship.


The Fund-of-Funds initiative will help advance the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, which aims to enable 30 million young people in Africa, particularly young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

Context & Opportunity

Funds that are owned and led by African entrepreneurs and located on the African continent are often considered high-risk. At the same time, African SMEs struggle to access the financing they need to scale, inhibiting their potential to drive economic growth and employment on the continent.

The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund tackles both challenges by investing in and strengthening African investment funds. This approach, in turn, supports African SMEs.

Our First Investment

Aruwa Capital Management

Aruwa Capital Management, a Lagos based female founded and led early-stage growth equity and gender lens investment fund, is pleased to announce the successful close of its first institutional fund, which was oversubscribed, surpassing its target of $20 million. The fund’s first institutional and anchor investor is Visa Foundation, followed by other investors such as Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund, Nyala Venture, backed by Financial Sector Deepening Africa Investments and leading family businesses from Africa, Europe and the United States.

Aruwa Capital was founded in 2019 by Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes who has leveraged more than a decade of investment banking and private equity experience from leading global organisations such as J.P.Morgan. Adesuwa started Aruwa to address the investment gap that women led enterprises face in Africa.

Through its investment strategy, the Fund aims to create more sustainable and scalable pathways for economic growth and inclusion in the region. The Fund will invest $500,000 to $2.5 million in women focused small and growing businesses in Nigeria and Ghana, targeting investments in critical sectors such as healthcare, fintech, renewable energy, and essential consumer goods.

Aruwa Capital Management
Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes


Working together to achieve substantive impact

Business Development
Services Provider
Gender Equity Diversity and Inclusion Partner
Communications and Public Engagement Partner

The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund is an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation and a consortium of partners. Led by the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), The Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund and other partners include Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), ESPartners (ESP), Genesis Analytics, Criterion Institute, and Africa Communications Media Group (ACG).

How to Apply

Please complete the online form to apply to the Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund.

Please note that we will not respond to incomplete applications nor to applications made by organisations other than investment vehicles. The MFAGF invests in funds/investment vehicles, and does not invest in SMEs, therefore SME applications will not be considered.

Call for Expression of Interest: Business Development Service Providers

To execute this vision, our partner Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners (ESP) is currently seeking the expertise of inclusive and innovative BDS providers based in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria.