The Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC) has launched a $50 million first and only Fintech-focused Africa Fund.
Backed by MyGrowthFund Venture Partners, the fund will focus on fintech companies with proven technology, operating in Africa.
Private equity investments in Africa have doubled during the last decade with fintech receiving close to 60% of the capital. Total capital invested in African FinTech companies grew by $1.49 billion in 2021 compared to the previous year, setting Africa’s highest FinTech funding year to date at $2.02 billion.
The fund domiciled in KIFC will create proximity on the continent between investments and fintech investment opportunities and will increase African investment in African fintech specially since less than 10% of the private equity investment in 2021 came from the continent. The fund’s objective is to grow the capital to $120 million.
Nick Barigye, CEO of Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL)
The announcement was made during the “Kigali International Financial Centre: The Home of Africa’s Fintechs” forum on February 2 at the Conrad Hotel in Dubai.
The high-level expert-led discussions focused on the game-changing role that KIFC is playing in connecting global investors to fintech opportunities across Africa. KIFC provides a conducive environment for investment and resources needed to drive the levels of entrepreneurship and digital skills required to build an emerging fintech ecosystem.
Advancements in technology have seen the rise of African based unicorns, particularly in the financial technology space, offering payment or banking solutions. Several of these unicorns have sought out Kigali as a base to consolidate their regional operations.
“70% of the investment deals go to tech-based products and/or services, so attracting fintech oriented investors and creating a thriving fintech ecosystem, which would facilitate scaling up investment across the continent, is of paramount importance to KIFC,” said Nick Barigye, CEO of Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL). UAE’s evolving fintech landscape continues to boost development and innovative solutions in the industry, providing inspiration to and partnership opportunities for Africa’s fintech community.
A number of senior industry experts spoke at the forum, including Hon Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information and Communications Technology and Innovation, Government of Rwanda; Barigye; Oluwatosin Ajibade (Eazi) Founder of Empawa Africa and Global Superstar; Vusi Thembekwayo, Chief Executive Officer, MyGrowthFund Venture Partners; Angela Homsi, Founder and CEO of Angaza Capital.
The forum was part of a four-day trip organised by the Government of Rwanda which aimed to build bridges between the UAE and Rwandan business communities whilst exploring untapped trade and investment potential. The themed events, which focused on finance, fintech, health, mining, and trade, were held on February 2 and 3.
Barigye added: “We are very proud to note that KIFC is one of the preferred financial destinations in Africa – ranking top 5 in the African continent – and one of the top 15 new International Financial Centres (IFCs) to watch according to the Global Financial Centres index.
“As one of the fastest-growing fintech hubs, KIFC is committed to working in close cooperation across the continent and all over the world to facilitate pan-African investment, provide the highest quality financial services to international investors, and unlock the continent’s enormous potential. UAE is a very important and key market for us and the last few days have been very productive.”