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October 7, 2019
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing $10 million in CardinalStone Capital Advisers Growth Fund (CCAGF), a private equity fund launched and managed by CardinalStone Capital Advisers (CCA)- an investment management firm, to expand access to finance for high-growth, underserved small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria and Ghana.
SMEs account for 96% of businesses in Nigeria and 85% of the private sector in Ghana. The growing middle class in both presents an opportunity for SMEs to scale up, however access to long-term capital remains a challenge. CCAGF will seek to support SME growth opportunities by providing long-term capital as well as operational expertise to ensure business sustainability.
Yomi Jemibewon, Co-Founder and Managing Director of CardinalStone Capital Advisers, said: “This funding represents a significant step towards catalyzing growth in small and medium enterprises in Nigeria and Ghana. We look forward to working with the IFC as a partner in this fund as we strive to continuously bring best practices in operating standards to our investments and investee companies.”
CardinalStone Capital Advisers is seeking $100 million in total for the CCAGF fund and has secured $50 million in capital commitments from the CDC Group, the UK’s development institution; Kuramo, a leading African investment firm; FMO, the Dutch Development Bank; and NSIA, the Nigerian sovereign wealth fund; among other investors.
“IFC’s investment in CardinalStone will spur growth of SMEs and facilitate much-needed job creation, while creating the ecosystem for a more robust local private equity and mezzanine financing market,” said William Sonneborn, IFC Senior Director for Disruptive Technology and Funds. “By supporting SMEs in fast-growing markets, we hope to bring best practices that raise the bar for operational improvements and environmental and governance standards across the investee companies.”
Despite being a first-time fund manager, the CCA team has experience investing in these markets, having deployed $29 million in capital in 5 investments across several sectors. Their investment in cassava starch production in Nigeria is already creating value for hundreds of farmers who can now transform their raw materials into value-added products, reduce reliance on imports and improve supply chain efficiencies.
This investment is part of the IFC
program that supports high-growth entrepreneurs in frontier markets by investing in funds that provide risk capital. The program also offers technical assistance on a range of issues, from management skills to accounting, to build a more sustainable environment for SMEs. SME Ventures funds have financed over 100 SMEs, which have created over 6,000 direct jobs, many more indirect jobs, and generated tax revenues for governments.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
About CardinalStone Capital Advisers
CardinalStone Capital Advisers (CCA) is a Private Equity Investment Adviser operating out of Lagos Nigeria. Established in 2016, CCA is a spin-off from CardinalStone Partners, an independent investment banking firm in Nigeria. CCA manages funds to be invested in high growth SMEs that can grow into market leaders across sectors that are deemed strategic to the development of West African economies.
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