African Rivers Fund

Central Africa,Africa Health, Other consumer services, Education, Food and agriculture, Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Communications and IT Services

XSML is a Dutch investment fund manager operating in frontier markets in Central and East Africa. The firm aims to grow small businesses into medium and large enterprises.  XSML was founded in 2008 and its maiden fund was the Central Africa SME Fund (CASF).

The African Rivers Fund (ARF) invests in small and medium-sized enterprises, at the early venture and late stages. It will target high-growth, well-managed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Central and East African region.

Our investment

In 2016, CDC invested $10 million in ARF, alongside the IFC and other DFIs including the Dutch Development Bank, Belgium's BIO and France's Proparco, the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and Canada's Lundin Foundation. The fund manager will look to make equity and debt investments between $0.25 million to $5 million. The total fund size is $50 million. Our investment will provide much-needed finance and support for small businesses in this challenging region.

Expected impact

Lack of finance is a major barrier to effective growth and expansion for high-growth SMEs in Central and East Africa. Many of these companies can also help provide basic goods to low-income groups. Our investment will allow the fund manager to improve access to affordable products and services, and generate direct and indirect jobs, helping to unlock the region's potential for growth.  The fund manager will also provide technical assistance and training to investee companies to help them reduce operating costs and develop business skills. Since its launch, the ARF has invested in Qualicoff, a Ugandan exporter of coffee beans; Telcare, an operator of Ugandan mobile money kiosks; Ecopharm, a Ugandan pharmacy chain; and Institut Aurora, an education provider which offers nursery, primary and secondary education in Kinshasa, DCR. XSML made 32 investments in SMEs across 10 sectors with its first fund.

Environmental and social aspects

We will work closely with the fund manager to develop and implement an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS).

Key facts

Status:
Active
Region

Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.

:
Africa, Central Africa
Countries

For funds, the countries listed here are those the fund has invested in so far.

:
Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda
Sector

We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people. For funds, the sectors listed here are those the fund has invested in so far.

:
Communications and IT Services, Education, Food and agriculture, Health, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Other consumer services
Website:
https://xsmlcapital.com/
Investment type

We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).

:
Intermediated investment
Fund manager:
XSML
Start date

For direct investments, this is the date CDC committed capital to the business or project.

For funds, this is the date that CDC committed capital to the fund.

For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e

:
February 2016
Amount

For direct investments, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).

For funds, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the fund.

:
$10m
Domicile

This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.

:
Mauritius

Investments made by this fund

  • Active
  • Exited
Investment name Country Region Sector Start date Status
Ets. B.I.S

BIS manufactures more than 50 pharma products and specialises in injectable and ophthalmic pharmaceuticals for the mass market in DRC and is planning to expand into household cleaning products.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Health April 2016 Active
NRJ Sarl

Established in 2006, NRJ is one of the largest trucking companies operating in the Kinshasa/Bas Congo region and has a fleet of Renault trucks, trailers and elevator tractors. It specialises in the transport of cement, mined materials, fuel, logs and other conventional freight. It also offers rental services.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Manufacturing April 2016 Active
RJ Trading Sarl

RJ Trading is a trading and wholesale company in Kinshasa and Pointe-Noire which imports and distributes fast moving consumer goods brands, bakery products and pet food.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Other consumer services April 2016 Active
SOGOOD SARL

SoGood is the first wholesaler in the Congo focused on the distribution of fresh, frozen and dry good to the hospitality sector (restaurants, hotels, etc) in Kinshasa.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Other consumer services April 2016 Active
Institut Aurora

Set up in 2012, Institut Aurora provides affordable nursery, primary and secondary school education to French and English curriculum standards

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Education April 2016 Active
GROUPE M&N SARL

Groupe M&N, operating as VIP Palace, has a hotel and restaurant in Goma (Eastern DRC) and is well placed to gain from an increase in tourism to Lake Kivu and Virunga National Park.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Other consumer services May 2016 Active
Pop Shop Sarl

Pop Shop operates Limoncello, an Italian restaurant, and a stationery store retailing to schools and offices, Both are based in Kinshasa.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Other consumer services June 2016 Active
Maison Galaxy

Established in 2014, Maison Galaxy is a consumer goods and cosmetics retailer and has stores in Goma, Kindu, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Lolwezi, Lubumbashi, Kindu and Matadi, with plans to open outlets in Cote d'Ivoire and Angola.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Other consumer services August 2016 Active
Monishop

Monishop is a supermarket retailer in Kinshasa.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Other consumer services August 2016 Active
Quickprint Sarl

Established in 2014, Quickprint is a digital printing shop in Gombe, Kinshasa and offers modern printing solutions for corporates, NGOs and SMEs in the area.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Manufacturing December 2016 Active
Fawaz Trading Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Other consumer services February 2017 Active
Gerant de l’Eternal Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Other consumer services March 2017 Active
Kare Distribution Uganda Africa, East Africa Food and agriculture May 2017 Active
SODEP Democratic Republic of Congo Africa, Central Africa Infrastructure May 2017 Active
Qualicoff Uganda Africa, East Africa Food and agriculture May 2017 Active
Telcare Ltd Uganda Africa, East Africa Communications and IT Services July 2017 Active
M&N Cleaning Uganda Africa, East Africa Other consumer services July 2017 Active
Ecopharm Ltd Uganda Africa, East Africa Health October 2017 Active
Simba Oil Ltd March 2018 Active