The International Finance Corporation is investing $10 million to finance underserved SMEs in Nigeria and Ghana

International Finance Corporation (Seedarabia)
  • SMEs from Nigerian and Ghana to benefit from $10 million IFC fund.
  • CardinalStone will support SME growth opportunities by providing long-term capital as well as operational expertise to ensure business sustainability.
  • This investment is part of the IFC SME Ventures program for entrepreneurs.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) said it is investing $10 million to expand access to finance for high-growth, underserved small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria and Ghana.

The fund will be held in CardinalStone Capital Advisers Growth Fund (CCAGF), a private equity fund launched and managed by CardinalStone Capital Advisers (CCA) - an investment management firm.

Yomi Jemibewon, Co-Founder and Managing Director of CardinalStone Capital Advisers, said: “This funding represents a significant step towards catalysing growth in small and medium enterprises in Nigeria and Ghana. We look forward to working with the IFC as a partner in this fund as we strive to continuously bring the best practices in operating standards to our investments and investee companies.”

CardinalStone Capital Advisers is seeking $100 million in total for the CCAGF fund and has secured $50 million in capital commitments from the CDC Group, the UK’s development institution; Kuramo, a leading African investment firm; FMO, the Dutch Development Bank; and NSIA, the Nigerian sovereign wealth fund; among other investors. 

IFC’s investment in CardinalStone will spur growth of SMEs and facilitate much-needed job creation while creating the ecosystem for a more robust local private equity and mezzanine financing market,” said William Sonneborn, IFC Senior Director for Disruptive Technology and Funds. “By supporting SMEs in fast-growing markets, we hope to bring best practices that raise the bar for operational improvements and environmental and governance standards across the investee companies.

According to a 2017 ResearchGate publication, SMEs in Africa constitute 50% of the continent's GDP and account for 60% of employment figures and about 90% of all businesses. 

In Nigeria, SMEs account for 96% of businesses and 85% of the private sector in Ghana. With all these in mind, CardinalStone says the fund will support SME growth opportunities by providing long-term capital as well as operational expertise to ensure business sustainability.

The investment is part of the IFC SME Ventures program that supports high-growth entrepreneurs in frontier markets by investing in funds that provide risk capital. The programme, according to IFC, has financed over 100 SMEs, which have created over 6,000 direct jobs, many more indirect jobs, and generate tax revenues for governments.

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