Wakanow CEO, Obinna Ekezie, shares insights on what $40 million new investment fund from Carlyle Group will do for the company

Obinna Ekezie, Co-Founder and CEO, Wakanow, tells Business Insider that the company will use part of the fund of clear off debts, grow the business and offer customers various exciting hotel packages and others.

Obinna Ekezie; CEO and Co-founder of Wakanow
  • US equity firm, The Carlyle Group, invests $40 million in Wakanow Limited
  • Wakanow to use the investment grow businesses in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya markets
  • Wakanow CEO says part will go for debt servicing.

US equity firm, The Carlyle Group has agreed to invest $40 million in Wakanow Limited (Wakanow), an online travel agency focused on West and East Africa, with principal operations in Nigeria.

In a statement posted on its website, the investment firm said the equity came from Carlyle’s Sub-Saharan Africa fund and further financial details were not disclosed.

Idris Mohammed, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group, said: “Wakanow has experienced incredible growth since inception, disrupting the travel market and taking market share both online and offline. We believe that this strong growth trajectory will continue as Wakanow benefits from an expanding middle class across the continent in addition to increasing internet penetration and mobile connectivity, which is driving increased online traffic. We look forward to working with Wakanow’s management team to help them deliver on their vision for growth and expansion.

Wakanow CEO says the investment will help grow businesses across the African market

Obinna Ekezie, Co-Founder and CEO, Wakanow, tells Business Insider SSA on Friday, December 21, 2018, that the new investment will help the company to improve its business ventures across Africa - Nigeria, Ghana and the Kenya markets.

The company will clear its debts and become debt-free and gives us the ability to grow the business and offer customers various exciting hotel packages and others.

“It gives us, from the Carlyle prospective, a massive investment fund and the opportunity to leverage on their networks and capacity to add value to the business and customers.

“We are focusing on the current markets for now – Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya,” he concludes.

Founded in 2009 in Nigeria, Wakanow is one of West Africa’s largest full-service online travel companies, providing its customers with a one-stop online booking portal for flights, hotels, holiday packages, and other travel services and ancillaries. Complementing their online offering,

Wakanow also operates a network of traditional brick-and-mortar travel centres and has operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, UAE and the UK.

In 2014, Carlyle Group, also investment $147 million in troubled Nigeria's Diamond Bank Plc. The bank recently sealed a merger deal with a tier-1 bank, Nigeria's Access Bank to create Africa's largest bank. The US firm and one on the largest shareholders in Diamond Bank has kept mute over the deal. Both banks are expected to finalise the deal next year.


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