Archive for the 'SME' Category

IFC invests $10 mn in East Africa’s Catalyst I private equity fund

The International Finance Corporation (, a member of the World Bank Group, on 8 March announced it was investing $10 million in equity in Catalyst Fund I LLC. The fund aims to stimulate employment and accelerate economic growth across East Africa by improving access to equity financing for emerging and mid-size companies.
Catalyst Principal Partners (, a private equity firm based in Kenya, has raised $70 million for the fund. Other investors include the African Development Bank, the Commonwealth Development Corporation, Germany’s development finance company DEG and PROPARCO of France.
The fund will invest in growth companies with dynamic management to drive growth, regional expansion, consolidation, and performance improvement. Investments in target companies will range from $5 mn to $15 mn. It will be managed by Catalyst Principal Partners LLC, and aims to invest in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and other East African countries. It will provide financial and management advice to up to 14 mid-size companies across different sectors.
Paul Kavuma, Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst, said: “We anticipate additional substantial commitments in the coming months to achieve our target fund size. We are particularly encouraged by the interest expressed from regional pension funds and insurance companies, noting that we have already received significant capital from reputable local institutions and private investors.”
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said: “IFC is supporting this fund to help East Africa’s entrepreneurs gain better access to finance and promote the high growth and dynamic companies that encourage sustainable development and create jobs and new opportunities.”
IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. Investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010.

Jacana partners with Ghana’s Fidelity Capital Partners private equity manager

Jacana (, a UK-based group that supports emerging SME private equity firms in Africa, has launched its second investment, a strategic partnership with Ghanaian fund manager Fidelity Capital Partners Limited (
Jacana’s investment, announced on 13 December, will enable Fidelity Capital Partners to expand the senior team. Jacana will also provide hands‐on management support to the investment team and the portfolio companies ahead of the planned launch of Fidelity’s third fund in 2012.
Fidelity Capital Partners was founded in 1999 and is one of West Africa’s leading SME private equity firms. It manages two SME funds – Fidelity Equity Funds I and II – with a total of $32 million under management.
Stephen Antwi‐Asimeng, Senior Partner of Fidelity Capital Partners, commented in a press release: “We approached Jacana as a strategic partner because we believe that the combination of our local market experience and deal flow with their international expertise in private equity will be a powerful one which will enable us to scale new heights.”
Fidelity manages the funds on behalf of a number of investors, including Ghana’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust ( and Venture Capital Trust Fund (, Netherlands-based Oikocredit ( and social venture capital fund Sovec (, and leading development finance institutions (DFIs), such as FMO (Netherlands) SIFEM (Switzerland) and Finnfund (Finland).
Claude Barras, Managing Director of SIFEM and Ben Zwinkels, Senior Investment Officer of FMO, both Board Directors of Fidelity Capital, commented: “We believe that the combination of Jacana and Fidelity Capital will enhance returns for all investors and help us to achieve our development goals in Africa. We are excited about working together with Jacana and supporting both partners in their future growth.”
Jacana was founded by European private equity experts and its mission is to contribute to long‐term poverty alleviation by attracting public and private investment to SMEs in Africa and by partnering with and developing local private equity fund managers. Jacana adds capital and expertise and enables its partners to grow their teams, build their track records and raise larger funds. It is Jacana’s second partnership, following its investment in InReturn Capital, an East African SME investment firm, announced in June 2010 (as reported on this blog.
The partnership with Fidelity Capital enables Jacana to extend its footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa and further develop its track record in building successful SME private equity firms.
Jacana was founded in 2008 by a group with substantial experience in the private equity and venture capital industry in Europe. Its co‐founders include Stephen Dawson (a pioneer in the UK VC industry 30 years ago and a co‐founder of Impetus Trust, a venture philanthropy charity), Lord Joel Joffe (a philanthropist with a background in human rights law, a successful entrepreneur and former Chairman of Oxfam), Connie Helyar (a successful entrepreneur in fund administration for private equity) and Simon Merchant (a successful entrepreneur and VC investor). Jacana’s vision is the creation of a sustainable, responsible and robust SME growth capital industry in Sub‐Saharan Africa that supports local SMEs, fuels economic growth, creates employment and thereby makes a major contribution to the reduction of poverty in Africa.
Fidelity Capital Partners Limited was established in February 1997 and started business in November 1999 as a venture capital and private equity fund manager and corporate finance advisor. Fidelity Capital’s shareholders include its management, local and international private investors, and development finance institutions. It is also the local investment partner of Africinvest Capital Partners Limited (, a Pan‐African private equity fund management company.