Uhuru Growth Fund I reaches US$113m first close to support economic revival

NIGERIAThe Uhuru Investment Partners (Uhuru), a middle-market private equity firm based out of Lagos and Abidjan, has announced the first close of Uhuru Growth Fund I (UGF) at US$113 million with capital support from the CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution (DFI), along with other DFI partners, commercial and Impact Investors.

In addition to CDC, UGF is backed by commercial investors AfricaGrow and Kuramo Capital, in addition to DFIs including European Investment Bank, DEG, SIFEM and Finnfund.

Commitment from Uhuru’s partners will provide the vital capital to support local businesses’ economic revival from the COVID-19 pandemic and boost trade across the continent.

According to a statement, UGF’s capital will support enterprises that boost job creation, increase access to goods and services in consumer staples, and enhance access to healthcare and fintech sectors.

“Having forged a partnership over the years, CDC has supported Uhuru in mobilising DFI and commercial capital and has worked with the GP to improve governance and implement Business Integrity and Environmental and Social (E&S) best practice,” part of the statement said.

With a target final close of US$200 million, the first-generation fund will invest across the West African region including Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and other Francophone markets.

“We look forward to positively impacting the growth of West Africa’s economies by supporting local companies in our target sectors.”

Dr. Yemi Osindero, Managing Partner of Uhuru

“We are delighted to reach the first close of our fund. We are immensely grateful for the unwavering support of our investors in what has been a challenging fundraising environment,” Dr. Yemi Osindero, Managing Partner of Uhuru, said.

“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.”

Given Uhuru’s unique position in the market and competitive grasp of the fastest-growing economies across the ECOWAS region, the firm expects to unlock further capital for deployment as it evolves as an institution.

“The launch of our fund shortly after the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area is auspicious because it allows us to capitalise 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,” Nana Adow Dankwa, Partner of Uhuru, said.

UGF will leverage the expertise of Uhuru Investment Partners’ indigenous-African team, their track record of successful investments in the region, robust local networks and extensive knowledge of West Africa’s markets. 

“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,” Jean-Michel Kamanan, Partner of Uhuru, said.

“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 domiciled in Luxembourg and expects to achieve final close in the first quarter of 2022. Solomon Wifa at Willkie Farr & Gallagher acted as global legal counsel. Ogier acted as Luxembourg counsel.

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