Since March when the first case of COVID-19 was announced in Kenya, several foreign companies and private equity funds have bought into local firms in what is emerging as a sign of economic confidence post-pandemic in east Africa’s largest economy.
The deals so far announced target medium-sized, small and start-up companies that are drivers of an economy that is driven by agriculture, trade and services in the absence of natural resources, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
The latest deal concluded this week worth 265 million shillings (2.5 million U.S. dollars) was announced by Nairobi-based regional private equity fund Fanisi Capital which says it bought an undisclosed stake in a local network of private primary schools.
Ayisi Makatiani, the managing partner of Fanisi Capital said the idea is to expand the schools to the countries where the company invests, namely Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
“We are looking at building a network of schools across the region and we are excited about this prospect,” Ayisi said on Wednesday.
That deal was preceded by the injection of 37 million dollars by one of Egypt’s largest bank, Commercial International Bank into a local bank, Mayfair Bank that is categorized by the Central Bank of Kenya as a small lender with a market share of 0.17 percent as at February.
Data released by the Kenyan banking sector regulator shows that Mayfair Bank was largely owned by a group of local businessmen since its licensing in 2017.
Anjay Patel, chairman of the Mayfair Bank said the new money will be re-invested in the new bank, to be known as Mayfair CIB Bank, to increase its capacity to lend to small and medium scale businesses.
Another big deal announced since March is the acquisition of undisclosed minority shareholding in Naivas Group, a local supermarket. Among the new investors includes the International Finance Corporation and Africa-focused private equity fund Amethis.
Ascent Rift Valley Fund, which is a Nairobi-based regional private equity fund announced that it has bought a stake in Metro Plastics Kenya, a manufacturer of PVC and PPR water pipes, electrical conduits, waste pipes, fittings and gutters.
The deals also include those of start-ups and small companies, like the 10 million dollars invested by Finnfund in Kasha, an e-commerce platform improving women’s access to genuine health, hygiene and self-care products in East Africa.
South Africa-based HAVAIC also announced an investment in the Kenyan financial inclusion and micro-retail focused business known as Tanda or Dukapay which provides access to digital financial services and affordable agency banking for the underbanked population in East Africa.
It allows small shops in the informal settlements and rural areas to offer a wide range of digital services such as airtime, prepaid electricity, bill payments and other services to their customers, all done on existing smartphones of the micro-retailer. Enditem