French start-up Qotto secures US$2m from EIF OGEF for rural electrification in West Africa

WEST AFRICA – The Off-Grid Energy Access Fund of the Energy Inclusion Facility (EIF OGEF) a provider of solar home systems, has closed €2 million (US$2.43m) financing in favour of the French start-up Qotto to electrify rural households in Benin and Burkina Faso. EIF OGEF loan fund provides mainly secured financing to support the growth of innovative companies in the off-grid energy sector. Managed by Lion’s Head Global Partners (LHGP), the fund draws on the Energy Inclusion Facility (EIF), a debt financing facility for small-scale electricity access projects, capitalized by…

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InfraCo Africa becomes anchor investor in Acorn Holding’s US$10m REIT

KENYA – InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has subscribed to the Acorn Holdings Ltd (Acorn) Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) by investing US$10 million enable Acorn to scale its business. The investment will help build the company’s track record of delivering purpose-built student housing in Kenya and helping to mobilise local capital markets. “This subscription marks our first investment into affordable housing, and I am delighted to take this step with Acorn, a well-respected developer of high quality student accommodation,” InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes noted. “Expanding Acorn’s…

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Realtor Novarick Homes launches Ruby Apartments project plan

NIGERIA – Novarick Homes, a property development company, has unlocked new investment opportunities for this year with the launch of Ruby Apartments with the serenity of Nova Gardens and culture-styled WAZOBIA Courts, for a diverse portfolio in Lagos, Nigeria. The Ruby Apartments is a mixture of luxury and affordability, specially designed to merge class with urban development. A solar powered premium apartment right in the heart of Lekki – the fastest developing area in the aquatic splendor. It is a collection of one and two bedroom apartments with a blend…

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Astral Aviation ferries 36MT of perishables on its maiden flight to Sharjah, UAE

KENYA – Astral Aviation made its maiden cargo flight to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 36 tonnes of perishables from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. The airline had announced in January 2021 that its new B767F from ATSG will be deployed on that route. Marking the launch of the B767F in Nairobi on January 22, 2021, Astral Aviation’s chief executive officer (CEO), Sanjeev Gadhia reiterated that the newly-acquired freighter will complement the existing fleet by providing new opportunities in the 40-tonnes category which was previously underserved in…

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Precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater enters battery metals sector after buying 30% stake in Keliber

SOUTH AFRICA – Precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater has entered the battery metals sector after securing a 30 percent stake in Finland-based lithium producer, Keliber. Sibanye and Keliber signed a US$14 million bridge financing agreement that will enable Keliber to advance its lithium project in Finland, creating the first vertically integrated lithium producer in Europe. Sibanye-Stillwater said in a statement that it would make an initial phased equity investment of US$36.5 million, for a 30 percent equity shareholding into Keliber while a  further US$12.2 million equity issuance would simultaneously be offered…

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Edtech startup Gradely launches virtual app for real-time data and feedback

NIGERIA – Gradely, an edtech startup, has launched its virtual application that will provide real-time data and feedback, in an effort aimed at bridging the gap created by the Covid-19 pandemic in the education sector. The launch is in line with necessary government education schemes in entrenching and deepening the usage of technology in Nigerian schools. Speaking at the programme, held in Lagos, the State Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, noted that Covid-19 hastened what they were doing and thinking about as technology created the new normal. She said…

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Hyundai Construction Equipment makes forays into East Africa with NEFC deal

EAST AFRICA – Hyundai Construction Equipment (HCE), an affiliate of the Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, has signed a distributorship agreement with construction equipment dealer NEFC, a move that is set to accelerate its forays into the East African market including Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Somaliland, and South Sudan. NEFC, which operates many businesses, such as construction, mining, hospitality, aviation, and aviation, is owned by Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, Ethiopian- Saudi billionaire businessman who is said to be one of the richest businessmen in the world. As such, NEFC is considered the most influential construction…

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Kenya’s Faulu Bank allocates US$27.4m for SME lending to spur growth

KENYA – Faulu Microfinance Bank Limited of Kenya has declared plans to lend up to US$27.4 million to micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs)  agribusiness and group customers to help them recover and grow following the Covid-19 economic disruptions. The amount includes a US$4.56 million trade finance facility the lender has rolled out targeting larger SMEs mostly in construction, trade, agribusiness and import business. The move comes as Faulu scales up financial support to its customers mainly micro-traders and business groups totalling 150,000 Faulu customers in Kenya. Faulu Bank Managing…

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Vodafone Egypt to obtain 20% stake in Ebtikar Holding electronic payment subsidiaries

EGYPT – Vodafone Egypt, the largest mobile network operator in Egypt, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ebtikar Holding for Financial Investments (Ebtikar), to obtain a 20% stake in the latter’s two electronic payment subsidiaries: Masrary and Bee. The MoU paves the way for Vodafone Egypt to participate in the two e-payment platforms’ capital subscription with a 20% stake. According to a press statement by Vodafone Egypt, this comes as part of the company’s strategy to increase its investments in Egypt and provide various digital payment services to…

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Imperial Logistics acquires e-commerce specialist Parcelninja

SOUTH AFRICA – Johannesburg Stock Exchange -listed Imperial Logistics has bought South African e-commerce logistics specialist Parcelninja. The terms and value of the deal were not disclosed. Imperial revealed details of the acquisition in its interim results for the six months ended 31 December 2020, in which it reported a 15% increase in revenue to US$1.8 billion. “The Parcelninja acquisition will provide specialised warehousing and distribution management in e-commerce, direct to consumers and to informal markets,” the logistics company said in notes alongside the financial results. “The acquisition will provide specialised…

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