Africa Deal Roundup: 15 noteworthy deals and announcements in July

Honoris United Universities, majority owned by private equity firm Actis, recently acquired the Nile University of Nigeria.

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A selection of African private equity deal, fundraising and exit announcements that came across our desk in July 2020.


Leapfrog Strategic Africa Investments, an investment partnership between LeapFrog Investments and the US-based global financial services firm Prudential Financial, announced it will acquire a 24% stake in ICEA LION Insurance Holdings Limited, a Kenyan insurer and asset manager.

TradeDepot, the B2B e-commerce platform for consumer goods in Africa, has raised a further $10 million in a pre-Series B equity round co-led by Partech, International Finance Corporation, Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative and MSA Capital. This is in addition to the $3 million Series A led by Partech in 2018.

Vantage Capital, Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager, provided R82 million (about $4.9 million) of mezzanine funding for the development of Kayalane Heights, an affordable housing development located in South Africa’s Limpopo province. The promoter of the transaction is Alleyroads Group, a South African property development company.

Honoris United Universities, a pan-African network of private higher education institutions majority owned by private equity investor Actis, has announced its expansion into West Africa by acquiring Nile University of Nigeria.

Asset management firm Futuregrowth has invested in South Africa’s SweepSouth, an online platform for booking, managing and paying for home cleaning, and other services. The investment was made through FutureGrowth’s Development Equity Fund.


CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, has committed $100 million to Helios Investors IV, the fourth private equity fund raised by Helios Investment Partners. The pan-African generalist fund will invest in and build market-leading companies across the continent.

Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs Africa (E4E), a new venture capital fund aimed at building internationally successful companies grown by South African entrepreneurs, has been launched. E4E, backed by a founding investment from the SA SME Fund, is run entirely by experienced entrepreneurs, with six founding partners who have extensive success in the local and international startup ecosystem, both as entrepreneurs and investors.

The African Rivers Fund III, managed by XSML, has received an investment from the SDG Frontier Fund. The transaction amount has not been disclosed. African Rivers is a mezzanine fund that aims at providing growth capital to approximately 35 SMEs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Angola, where the availability of SME finance is limited. The SDG Frontier Fund is a self-managed co-investment vehicle which seeks to invest together with BIO (the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries) in private equity funds active in Africa and Asia.

The European Investment Bank is considering a $20 million investment in the ARCH Cold Chain Solutions East Africa Fund. The fund will invest equity or equity-related funds primarily into greenfield assets in temperature-controlled supply chains. Target clients are expected to be active mainly in the agriculture/food (~90%) and vaccines/medicine (~10%) sectors. The fund is expected to focus on investments in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The IFC has approved an equity investment of up to $25 million in Lorax II, a closed-end private equity fund targeting to raise $250 million to invest in mid-cap companies in Egypt and up to 20% in the other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The fund is managed by Lorax Capital Partners, a Cairo-based investment advisor.

CDC Group and Finnfund have announced a $70 million commitment to AfricInvest Fund IV. CDC committed $50 million and Finnfund, the Finnish development financier, contributed $20 million. Fund IV will invest in mid-cap and growth-oriented companies in sectors including financial services, agribusiness, logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and education. CDC and Finnfund’s investments anchor the fund’s first close at $202 million.


London-based private equity fund 8 Miles is set to exit its 42% stake in Uganda’s Orient Bank, according to a report by The Independent. The shareholders of Orient have entered into an agreement with Kenyan-headquartered banking and financial services group I&M Holdings Plc for the sale of 90% of the issued share capital of Orient. Upon completion of the transaction, the remaining 10% shareholding shall be held by Ketan Morjaria (a founding member of Orient) and Alemayehu Fisseha.

DPO Group, an online payments platform in Africa operating across 19 countries, has entered into an agreement to be fully acquired by Network International. DPO Group is backed by Apis Partners LLP, a private equity asset manager focused on financial services in the growth markets of Africa and Asia.

Enko Capital Managers, managers of the Enko Africa Private Equity Fund (EAPEF), has completed the exit of its investment in AMI Worldwide (AMI), a pan African logistics business, with significant operations in East, Central and Southern Africa. The deal marks EAPEF’s first exit. EAPEF, together with AMI’s founders Marc de Reymaeker and Vincent Hachez, are disposing this stake to CEVA Logistics, a subsidiary of global shipping giant CMA CGM.

Acumen has exited Tanzanian pay-as-you-go technology company KopaGas through Circle Gas’s $25-million acquisition of the company’s technology – the largest-ever pure private equity investment in the clean cooking sector.

Further reading

[June 2020] Due Diligence: Doing deals in Ethiopia – investor shares lessons learnt
[May 2020] Interview: Why AgVentures is betting on agrifood tech in Africa
[May 2020] Investment firm Accion explains why it backed Nairobi-based Apollo Agriculture
[April 2020] Investor shares an honest account of what it’s really like fundraising a VC fund in Africa
[April 2020] After a decade of building and investing in African companies, Emilian Popa explains why he is bullish on these five industries