Finnfund, a Finnish development financier and impact investor, announce today a USD 10 million commitment to Uhuru Growth Fund I (UGF).
UGF is the first generation fund focusing on high growth SME and middle market businesses operating in the consumer-facing and financial services sectors. The fund will seek investments in West African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and other Francophone West African markets such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.
Finnfund’s commitment is part of the first close of Uhuru Growth Fund I (UGF) at USD 113 million, announced by Uhuru Investment Partners. The fund has a target fund size of USD 200 million.
In addition to Finnfund, UGF’s other international investors include European Investment Bank, DEG, CDC, AfricaGrow, SIFEM and Kuramo Capital.
Uhuru Investment Partners has an experienced team of West African origin with strong local networks and a local presence. The team has extensive knowledge of the West African market and a track record of investments in the region. Through funding and support, the fund is aiming to foster the growth of local companies, helping them grow into regional champions, and creating new, high-quality jobs.
Riikka Molander, Associate Director & Head of Funds at Finnfund said: “We are glad to announce our commitment to Uhuru Growth Fund I. Through this funding Finnfund aims to foster the growth and development of SMEs and middle market businesses in West Africa, the region that includes a number of least developed and fragile states, in which many companies are lacking financing and support to develop and grow their businesses. This is particularly needed in the recovery from the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Dr. Yemi Osindero, Managing Partner of Uhuru said: “We are delighted to reach the first close of our fund. We are immensely grateful for the unwavering support of our investors through what has been a challenging fundraising environment. We look forward to positively impacting the growth of West Africa’s economies by supporting local companies in our target sectors, helping them grow into regional champions, and creating new, high-quality jobs.”
Nana Adow Dankwa, Partner of Uhuru said: “The launch of our fund shortly after the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area is auspicious because it allows us to capitalize on new opportunities for our portfolio companies to access regional markets. We are excited about the prospects for deepening intra-regional trade across our markets.”
Jean-Michel Kamanan, Partner of Uhuru said: “The presence of Uhuru’s key executive and operational teams in Abidjan, Accra and Lagos is a huge asset, enabling the team to effectively source investment opportunities in the Anglophone and Francophone economies of West Africa. Uhuru’s presence in the region’s largest and leading commercial hubs also enables us to get actively involved in the operations of our portfolio companies across the region.”
UGF is a closed-end private equity fund, that expects to achieve the final close in the first quarter of 2022.