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IFC Invests in East African Private Equity Fund Targeting Startups and Small Businesses

Nairobi, Kenya, January 22, 2010 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced it will invest $7.5 million in the Fanisi Venture Capital Fund, which will focus on investing in startups and small and medium enterprises in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, where job creation is largely driven by smaller enterprises.
The fund, established with the assistance of Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries and incorporated in Luxembourg, has raised $40 million in commitments and expects to reach its goal of $55 million within the next 12 months.  Norfund is an investor in the fund and a shareholder in the fund’s management company, which is majority-owned by Amani Capital Ltd, based in Nairobi.
The fund plans to make investments between $500,000 and $3 million in a variety of sectors, ranging from manufacturing to technology, helping smaller enterprises and startups get the capital they need to create and expand businesses.  It also will set up a business services support facility to help pipeline companies overcome technical and governance limitations, pre- and post-investment.
“IFC’s early and continued support to the Fanisi team has been extremely helpful, especially for a local and first-time fund management platform,” said Ayisi Makatiani, head of the fund’s investment team and CEO of Fanisi Capital Ltd, the fund’s local investment advisor.  
IFC’s Gender Program has agreed to support the business services facility, and IFC’s Rwanda Enterprise Development Program will provide training support to the fund’s portfolio companies.
Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC’s Southern Africa Region Director, said, “Fanisi’s support for startups and SMEs will be crucial for the sustained development of the East African corridor.”
Haydee Celaya, IFC Director for Private Equity and Investment Funds, said, “IFC is investing in this local private equity fund that focuses in growing SMEs and startups at a critical time, when the region needs long-term financial and advisory support.  The investment also will help build local fund management capacity.”
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, IFC is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by investing in private equity funds that target small enterprises in developing markets.  
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit .