New investment firm, Arise, sets up shop in Cape Town

Dutch development bank FMO and banking co-operative Rabobank, together with Norfund, a Norwegian development finance institution, have joined financial forces in launching a new investment firm, Arise.

The new Cape Town-based entity has combined assets of $637 million, and will focus on Sub-Saharan Africa's financial services sector. Capital will also be allocated for new investments, as the company aims to grow its current assets in excess of $1 billion.

Deepak Malik (pictured) Arise CEO, said:

"The main objective of establishing this company was to strengthen and develop effective, inclusive financial systems in Africa in order to contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction. Arise will take and manage minority stakes in Sub-Saharan African Financial Service Providers (FSPs) with the core aim of building strong and stable institutions that will serve retail, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the rural sector, and clients who have not previously had access to financial services."

In the short time since launching earlier this month, Arise has already concluded two deals. The first will see Arise acquiring a 27.7 % stake in CAL Bank, the third largest bank in Ghana. This is Arise's first deal in west Africa. The second will see it provide a $50 million bridging loan to dfcu Ltd in Uganda - enough to recapitalise the bank and enable it to comply with regulatory capital thresholds.

Malik added:

"The company will support the growth and development of FSPs through providing among others technical assistance and management services in the field of governance, management, marketing, innovation, compliance and risk management. Arise will increase the availability of financial services to SMEs and will provide a platform for people in Sub-Saharan Africa to empower themselves by opening bank accounts and taking loans - in turn building a better life for their families."