British International Investment

African Rivers Fund

Democratic Republic of CongoUgandaAfricaCommunications & IT servicesConsumer - EducationConsumer - HealthConsumer - other servicesFinancial servicesFood & AgricultureInfrastructureManufacturingOther

The African Rivers Fund (ARF) invests in small and medium-sized enterprises, at the early venture and late stages. It will target high-growth, well-managed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Central and East African region.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

In 2016, CDC invested $10 million in ARF, alongside the IFC and other DFIs including the Dutch Development Bank, Belgium's BIO and France's Proparco, the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and Canada's Lundin Foundation. The fund manager will look to make equity and debt investments between $0.25 million to $5 million. The total fund size is $50 million. Our investment will provide much-needed finance and support for small businesses in this challenging region.

Expected impact

Expected impact of investments made between 2012 and 2018. From 2019 onwards, we have published a fuller set of impact information, assessing each investment against six dimensions of impact.

Lack of finance is a major barrier to effective growth and expansion for high-growth SMEs in Central and East Africa. Many of these companies can also help provide basic goods to low-income groups. Our investment will allow the fund manager to improve access to affordable products and services, and generate direct and indirect jobs, helping to unlock the region's potential for growth.  The fund manager will also provide technical assistance and training to investee companies to help them reduce operating costs and develop business skills. Since its launch, the ARF has invested in Qualicoff, a Ugandan exporter of coffee beans; Telcare, an operator of Ugandan mobile money kiosks; Ecopharm, a Ugandan pharmacy chain; and Institut Aurora, an education provider which offers nursery, primary and secondary education in Kinshasa, DCR. XSML made 32 investments in SMEs across 10 sectors with its first fund.

Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

We will work closely with the fund manager to develop and implement an ESMS.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    :
    March 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.

    :
    D100
    Status

    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).

    :
    Active
    Region

    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    :
    Africa
    Sector

    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    :
    Communications & IT services, Consumer - Education, Consumer - Health, Consumer - other services, Financial services, Food & Agriculture, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Other

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Fund
    Start date :
    February 2016
    Amount :
    $10m
    Currency of investment :
    USD
    Fund Manager:
    XSML
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    Mauritius

Investments made by this fund into companies:

For further information about these companies, visit https://xsmlcapital.com/

Investment name Country Region Sector Start date Status
Citadel Holdings Uganda East Africa Consumer - Health November 2018 Active
Ecopharm Ltd Uganda East Africa Consumer - Health October 2017 Active
Ets. B.I.S Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - Health April 2016 Exited
Fawaz Trading Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services February 2017 Active
First and Future Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Communications & IT services June 2019 Exited
Gerant de l’Eternal Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services March 2017 Active
GROUPE M&N SARL Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services May 2016 Exited
Ice Industries Uganda East Africa Food & Agriculture February 2019 Active
Institut Aurora Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - Education April 2016 Active
Kare Distribution Uganda East Africa Food & Agriculture May 2017 Active
M&N Cleaning Uganda East Africa Consumer - other services July 2017 Active
Maison Galaxy Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services August 2016 Active
MDN Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - Health November 2018 Active
Monishop Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services August 2016 Active
NRJ Sarl Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Manufacturing April 2016 Active
PCA Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services September 2018 Active
Pop Shop Sarl Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services June 2016 Active
Prime Concept Uganda East Africa Manufacturing March 2019 Active
Qualicoff Uganda East Africa Food & Agriculture May 2017 Active
Quickprint Sarl Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Manufacturing December 2016 Active
RJ Trading Sarl Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services April 2016 Active
Simba Oil Ltd Uganda East Africa Other March 2018 Exited
Simba Telecom Uganda East Africa Communications & IT services December 2019 Active
Sindco Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Manufacturing December 2019 Active
SODEP Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Infrastructure May 2017 Exited
Sodikim Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Manufacturing October 2018 Active
SOGOOD SARL Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Consumer - other services April 2016 Exited
Telcare Ltd Uganda East Africa Communications & IT services July 2017 Exited
TMR Uganda East Africa Consumer - Health September 2018 Active
Toussaint Ndombasi Democratic Republic of Congo Central Africa Financial services June 2022 Active

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