European-Backed Fund Arise Targets $1 Billion of African Assets

LAGOS (Capital Markets in Africa) – Arise, the new development-finance venture created from the pooled sub-Saharan African assets of three European lenders, said it plans to buy minority stakes in companies across the continent as part of a strategy to boost assets to $1 billion from $660 million.

The company will target sub-Saharan African financial-service providers aimed at retail businesses, small- and medium-sized enterprises, rural areas and people who haven’t previously had access to banks and loans, Arise said in an e-mailed statement. 

The Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, the state-owned financier known as Norfund, has pooled its investments on the continent with Dutch lender Rabobank Groep and Dutch development bank FMO to create Arise, which is hosting an event to market its beginning in Cape Town on Thursday. Arise starts operations with investments in as many as 20 African countries and at a time when growth in sub-Saharan Africa is poised to accelerate after slowing to 1.6 percent last year, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund.

Norfund owns 48 percent of Arise, FMO holds 27 percent and Rabobank almost 25 percent.

Capital will be allocated for new investments and “it’s our aim to grow our current assets in excess of $1 billion,” Deepak Malik, chief executive officer of Arise, said in the statement. “We have put in place a diverse team of local and international specialists and industry experts.”


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