In 2015, CDC invested $15 million in the Ascent Rift Valley Fund, alongside other DFIs, including Austria's OeEB and Norway's Norfund, as well as commercial and institutional investors. It closed at a final fund size of $78 million. The fund provides much-needed growth capital for small businesses in these underinvested countries.
SMEs generate up to 90 per cent of all business activities in East Africa and employ half of the working population, making a significant contribution to the region's economy. However, lack of access to affordable finance and challenging regulatory conditions are a major barrier to trade and innovation. Our investment enables the fund manager to provide finance to support fast-growing and scalable businesses, driving wider business and industrial development, particularly in the agri-processing, healthcare and manufacturing sectors.
Since its launch, the fund has made investments in International Clinical Laboratories (previously Medpharm Holdings), a diagnostic laboratory in Ethiopia; Kisumu Concrete Products in Kenya; and Chims Africa, a mobile money network in Uganda. Several of Chims’ agencies are sited near agricultural markets to support smallholder trading; NGOs also use the service to distribute funds in refugee camps in the north of the country.
Environmental and social aspects
We worked closely with the fund manager to develop and implement an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) for this first-time fund.
Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.
- Africa, East Africa
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, Health, Manufacturing, Other consumer services
- Investment type
We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).
- Intermediated investment
- Fund manager:
- Ascent Capital Africa
- 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
- September 2015
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.
This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.
Investments made by this fund
|Investment name||Country||Region||Sector||Start date||Status|
| Medpharm Holdings Africa Ltd|
Holding company for International Clinics Laboratories, the leading provider of laboratory services in Ethiopia
|Ethiopia||Africa, East Africa||Health||February 2015||Active|
| African Queen Uganda Holdings Ltd|
African Queen Ltd(AQ) is a privately owned Ugandan company specializing in importing, distributing and marketing high quality products including; Hair Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Foods.
|Uganda||Africa, East Africa||Other consumer services||December 2015||Active|
| Kisumu Concrete Products|
Largest supplier of construction aggregates and the pargest producer of concrete products in Western Kenya
|Kenya||Africa, East Africa||Manufacturing||February 2017||Active|
| Allcent Global Corporation|
Chemical producers and holding company of Allied Chemicals Ltd.
|Ethiopia||Africa, East Africa||Manufacturing||March 2017||Active|
|Pharmcent Limited (Guardian Healthcare Limited)||Uganda||Africa, East Africa||Health||May 2017||Active|
|Unicent Limited (Universal Plastics Factory Plc)||Ethiopia||Africa, East Africa||Manufacturing||May 2017||Active|
|Auto Springs Mauritius Ltd||March 2018||Active|
| Metroplast Mu Ltd|
Metroplast Mu manufactures and trades plastic pipes and fittings.
|Africa, East Africa||Manufacturing||October 2019||Active|
| Chims Africa Ltd|
An MTN franchise dealing in the distribution of airtime and phone accessories and is now MTN'S leading mobile money agent
|Uganda||Africa, East Africa||Communications and IT Services||Exited|