British International Investment

Apis Growth Fund I

AfricaGlobalIndiaMalaysiaSouth AfricaRest of the WorldCommunications & IT servicesFinancial servicesInfrastructure

Apis Growth Fund I supports financial inclusion in Africa and South Asia by targeting mid-market companies focusing on payments infrastructure, credit and savings, insurance, distribution and service providers.

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

Our investment

Description of the investment.

In 2015, CDC invested $30 million into Apis Growth I, alongside the African Development Bank (AfDB), and other European DFIs including the Netherlands' FMO, Switzerland's SIFEM and Sweden's Swedfund, as well as private investors. The fund manager raised a total of $287 million. 

Our investment supports the development of technology-driven financial services in underserved areas and help attract other investors to the 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 access to financial services has proved a major barrier to economic growth in many emerging countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. 

However, the availability of new financial technologies, combined with increased mobile phone use, presents an opportunity to reach a greater section of lower income populations.

Our investment supports the fund manager's goal of financial inclusion by producing affordable financial services and products, and distributing them via innovative channels. 

This helps to create jobs – direct and indirect – and drive wider economic expansion in these underserved regions.

The fund manager also provides strategic, technical and operational expertise to investee companies to facilitate their growth. Its investments include pan-Africa SME lender Baobab (MicroCred); Indian ATM provider, EPS; pan-Africa payment platform Direct Pay Online; and Indian retail health insurer, Star Health and Allied Insurance.

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 have worked closely with the fund manager to develop and implement an ESMS for this first-time fund.

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.


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


    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.

    Rest of the World

    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, Financial services, Infrastructure

    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 :
    Start date :
    August 2015
    Amount :
    Currency of investment :
    Fund Manager:
    Apis Partners

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    United Kingdom

Investments made by this fund into companies:

For further information about these companies, visit

Investment name Country Region Sector Start date Status
Crossfin Apis Transaction Solutions (CATS) South Africa Southern Africa Communications & IT services June 2018 Active
Direct Pay Online Africa Africa Financial services June 2016 Active
Efficient Group Limited South Africa Southern Africa Financial services October 2019 Active
Electronic Payment and Services Pvt Ltd India South Asia Financial services January 2016 Active
GHL Systems Berhad Malaysia Rest of the World Financial services June 2018 Active
Green Light Planet Global, Kenya East Africa, Global Infrastructure November 2017 Exited
Microcred SAS Africa, Cote d'Ivoire Africa, West Africa Financial services December 2015 Active
Q Link South Africa Southern Africa Financial services October 2017 Active
Star Health and Allied Insurance Company Limited India South Asia Financial services August 2016 Active
Trans-Fast Remittance Global Rest of the World Financial services May 2016 Exited

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