Top 10 Active Investors in Africa

Africa is full of opportunities. While raising capital is easy for some, many other entrepreneurs are just not aware of the different options or possibilities available to fund their business. The last decade has seen more capital flowing into Africa like never before.

While some investment comes from the continent itself, most of it is coming from the US, Europe, the Middle East and China. In this article, Africa HR Solutions looks at the Top 10 Active Investors in Africa.

Top 10 Active Investors in Africa

  1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

bill and melinda gates foundation

Founded by billionaire Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was launched in 2000. As of December 2014, the Foundation had already donated money and property to non-profit organizations amounting to $44.3 billion.

  • In 2016, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a grant of $4.48 million to Sidai Africa, a social enterprise operating in the livestock sector in Kenya.
  • In June 2017, a $2.4 million grant was awarded to Sanergy, an organization that aims to provide hygiene and sanitation solutions to people living in urban slums
  1. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

chan zuckerberg initiative

The Chan Zuckerbergd Initiative (CZI) was announced in 2015 by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan. The mission of this organization is to ‘advance human potential and promote equality’. The CZI pledged endowment of 99% of their Facebook shares, worth $45 billion.

  • In 2015, Bridge International Academies, a private education franchise, received $10 million to improve and expand their affordable private elementary schools in East Africa.
  • In June 2016, the CZI invested $24 million in Andela. This start-up trains African engineers and programmers with the aim of outsourcing them to top tech companies in Europe and USA.
  1. Investment AB Kinnevik

Investment AB Kinnevik

Investment AB Kinnevik was founded in 1936. The Sweden-based organization is one of Europe’s largest listed investment company, with total assets estimated at $7 billion. Being a major investor on the Africa continent, about 8% of the company’s portfolio is made up of African businesses.

  • In January 2014, Konga, one of Nigeria’s leading e-commerce businesses, received $25 million from AB Kinnevik
  • In more recent years, the Swedish company has made some notable investments in Africa; Jumia, Iroko Partners, Millicom, Tele2, MTG, Rocket Internet and several others.
  1. Helios Investment Partners

Helios Investment Partners

Helios Investment Partners is a private equity and venture capital firm founded in 2004. The organization focuses on businesses in telecommunications, media, financial services, travel and leisure, FMCG and logistics.

  • In 2010, Helios Investment Partners invested $92 million in Interswitch, a Nigerian services provider.
  • A solar energy company in Tanzania, OffGrid Electric, received a $10 million investment in 2016.
  • Other major investments in Africa include Bayport, Equity Bank, MallforAfrica and several others.
  1. Seedstars World

Seedstars World

Seedstars is one of the most highly regarded start-up funders. The Swiss-based venture builder organization is active in 35+ countries around the world, with investments in young start-up businesses in emerging countries.

  • In 2014, Seedstars invested $330,000 in SimplePay, a third-party payment processing company from Nigeria.
  • In 2016, South African start-up Giraffe won the grand prize of $500,000 in equity investment funding, after winning the annual continental competition by Seedstars.
  1. Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program

Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program

The Tony Elemelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP) selects 1,000 entrepreneurs across the African continent every year for a program of training, mentoring and funding. The TEEP is backed by a $100 million fund from The Tony Elemelu Foundation.

  • Every participant to the TEEP program receives a $5,000 seed investment to their business
  • Over a ten-year period, the TEEP expects the program will help 10,000 start-ups to ultimately create one million new jobs and add $10 billion in revenue to Africa’s economy.
  1. International Finance Corporation

International Finance Corporation

Commonly known as the IFC, the International Finance Corporation is a member of the World Bank Group. The organization is the largest global development institution focusing exclusively on the private sector in developing regions.

  • In 2015, Madagascar’s SMTP Group received a $3 million investment for the expansion of its poultry business.
  • In 2016, the IFC provided a $7.5 million equity to Zoona, a financial business providing in-country and cross-border money transfers in Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi.

Any company or entrepreneur seeking to establish a new venture or expand an existing enterprise can approach the IFC. You can directly submit an investment proposal to field office closest to the location of the proposed projects.

  1. African Women’s Development Fund

African Women’s Development Fund

The AWDF is the first pan-African women’s grant maker in Africa. One of the primary objectives of the AWDF is to help build a culture of learning and partnerships within the African women’s movement.

  • Since 2001, the program has granted $17 million to 800 women’s organization in 42 African countries.
  • The AWDF only awards grants to organisations, not individuals. Grants provided range from $8,000 to $50,000.
  1. Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network

Founded by the billionaire founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, the Omidyar Network opened its Africa office in 2013. The firm is made up of a foundation and an investment firm, offering support to both profit and non-profit organisations across the world.

  • In 2009, Bridge International Academies, received an investment of $1.8 million to improve its network of low-cost primary schools in East Africa.
  • In 2014, start-up BudgIT received $400,000 for their project to provide Nigerian citizens access to and understanding of public budgets.
  1. Africa Innovation Foundation

Africa Innovation Foundation

Every year, The Innovation Prize for Africa provides a grant to inventors and innovators with breakthrough ideas and solutions that can positively impact Africa. The foundation accepts applications in priority areas in Africa; health, agriculture, energy, ICT, manufacturing and services.

  • In 2016, Dr. Valentin Agon from the Republic of Benin won the prize for an anti-malaria drug treatment made from natural plant extracts.
  • In 2017, Dr. El-Shafei from Egypt won the grand prize for his innovative magnetic bearing, which can be used in electricity generation.
  • The 7th edition (2018) of the pan-African innovation event will be hosted in Rwanda from the 11th to 12th of October 2018.

Closing thoughts

Lack of capital is one of the biggest hurdles entrepreneurs face. This results in thousands of million-dollar ideas being dropped everyday across the world. However, many private investors and investment firms invest millions in African business every year and the facilities to get your business funded do exist.

Similarly, if you need help managing your start-up or business, Africa HR Solutions is here. We offer an array of services, ranging from payroll management to HR Consulting and Medical Insurance for employees.

Get in touch today to see how we can help you.

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