The first and only fintech-focused Africa Fund has been launched by The Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC). Valued at $50million and backed by MyGrowthFund Venture Partners, the fund hopes to facilitate homeland investment.
The fund domiciled in KIFC will create proximity on the continent between investments and fintech investment opportunities and is set to increase investment in African fintech by African firms; especially when considering how less than ten per cent of private equity investment came from the continent last year. The fund’s objective is to grow by 140 per cent.
Having doubled over the course of the last decade, African fintech has been steadily cultivated by nearly 70 per cent of the private equity investments that flow into the continent. Total capital invested in African fintech companies grew by $1.49billion in 2021 compared to the previous year, setting Africa’s highest fintech funding year to date at $2.02billion.
The launch was announced on 2 February 2022, during the “Kigali International Financial Centre: The Home of Africa’s Fintechs” forum, which has hosted by Dubai’s Conrad Hotel. The forum was attended by a diverse range of Africa’s most prominent financial experts, including Hon Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information and Communications Technology and Innovation, Oluwatosin Ajibade, Founder of Empawa Africa, and Vusi Thembekwayo, Chief Executive Officer of the fund’s backer MyGrowthFund Venture Partners; amongst others.
The KIFC’s role in connecting global investors to fintech opportunities across Africa was central to the forum’s discussions. The Centre seeks to provide a conducive environment for investment into Africa’s fintech ecosystem, developing the entrepreneurship and digital skills that would allow its future to be bright.
“70 per cent of the investment deals go to tech-based products and/or services, so attracting fintech oriented investors and creating a thriving fintech ecosystem, which would facilitate scaling up investment across the continent, is of paramount importance to KIFC,” said Rwanda Finance CEO Nick Barigye whilst speaking on the role of the KIFC.
It’s evident that such a future is already being realised, as is clear from the rise of African-based unicorns. Some of the newest members of the $1billion+ club include the Egyptian fintech Fawry, and the Nigerian fintechs Interswitch and Flutterwave.
The launch of the fund came in tandem with a four-day trip to the UAE; which was organised by the Government of Rwanda. The trip sought to build bridges between Rwandan business communities and their host country, whilst also exploring any untapped trade and investment opportunities.
The delegation kick-started their trip by celebrating the Rwandan National Day on 1st February at Expo 2020. The location provided a unique and international stage to engage in cultural diplomacy and interact with the host country, other participants, tourists, and importantly, investors. As the world’s largest meeting place, Expo 2020 offers the perfect environment for international relationships to form.
Barigye added that: “We are very proud to note that KIFC is one of the preferred financial destinations in Africa – ranking top 5 in the African continent – and one of the top 15 new International Financial Centres to watch according to the Global Financial Centres index.
“As one of the fastest-growing fintech hubs, KIFC is committed to working in close cooperation across the continent and all over the world to facilitate pan-African investment, provide the highest quality financial services to international investors, and unlock the continent’s enormous potential. UAE is a very important and key market for us and the last few days have been very productive.”
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