Impact investing group Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) has opened a Nairobi office as part of its expansion into Kenya and the East African region, targeting investing in high-potential small and medium-sized businesses.

The Nairobi-based office will enable I&P source for investment opportunities for its Ksh11.8 billion fund the I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs 2. IPAE 2 fund aims to invest in equity and quasi-equity as a minority shareholder in 30 to 40 startups and businesses located in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean. The investment tickets range from €1 million (Ksh 127 million) to €5 million (Ksh636.6 million).

At the same time, I&P also announced that it recently hired Asif Noorani as its Investment Manager for East Africa, with the aim of building jointly on his local knowledge, networks and investment experience to grow the portfolio. Asif is a seasoned Private Equity professional, having spent seven years at Fanisi Capital, a Kenyan PE fund investing in SMEs in East Africa where he was leading the investment team, as Investment Principal. Before that, he worked for Prime Bank in Nairobi after returning from London where he worked as a career accountant and lecturer.

Since its creation in 2002, I&P has considerably expanded both its activities and geographic deployment. The investment team, spread across 8 offices (Paris, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar, Niger and Senegal) has invested in over 120 businesses operating in some 15 Sub-Saharan African countries and demonstrating a clear potential in terms of value creation and local impact.

Although the firm is historically more active in West Africa and in the Indian Ocean, I&P is already familiar with the East African market. I&P has invested in Afribon, a Kenyan food flavours business, African Management Institute, a Kenyan management training company, and Finance Trust Bank, a Ugandan bank for micro entrepreneurs and small companies. With I&P’s investment and networks, AMI has been successful in growing into West Africa with its foray into Burkina Faso in 2020, showing that it is possible to bridge the gap between the two regions.

Jérémy Hajdenberg, Chief Investment Officer, responsible for the East African region, had this to say, I&P is aiming at closing that SME finance gap in the region, this strategy makes sense at the operational level because expanding our geographical footprint allows us to diversify political and economic risks. Besides, I&P is looking forward engaging more with the dynamic impact investing community established in East Africa.”