Private equity fund manager Ascent has announced the final close of its Ascent Rift Valley Fund II (ARVF II) at more than USD 128 million. The fund exceeded its initial target of USD 120 million. The first close of ARVF II was in December 2020.

ARVF II is a ten year private equity fund managed by Ascent Capital Management Africa II Ltd and is domiciled in Mauritius. ARVF II, assisted by the manager and its advisory offices in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya, will invest in countries in East Africa including Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

ARVF II will invest equity in leading small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa, looking to take large minority or majority stakes. The targeted sectors include manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade services, financial services, education, healthcare, and agro-processing.

ARVF II will promote environmental, social and governance best practices in its portfolio companies in order to drive growth and value, create high-quality jobs, limit environmental impact, increase government tax revenues, further empower local economies, and create companies that are a valued part of their local communities.

ARVF II has already made three investments to date in the financial and healthcare services sectors. The two recent investments are Valley Hospital in Nakuru, Kenya and Diani Beach Hospital on the South Coast of Kenya.

ARVF II’s predecessor fund Ascent Rift Valley Fund I, with commitments of USD 80 million, closed in 2016 and made nine investments in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya across a variety of sectors including healthcare, distribution, financial services and manufacturing.

Investors in ARVF II include leading Africa investors such as BIO (Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, BII Group (the UK’s development finance institution), FMO (Dutch entrepreneurial development bank), IFC (International Finance Corporation), Norfund (the Norwegian Investment Fund for developing countries), FISEA (advised by Proparco, France’s development finance institution), SDG Frontier Fund, impact investors and major Kenyan pension funds. In December 2021 the investors were joined by AfricaGrow and in the fund’s final close by a Kenyan institutional investor while some prior close investors increased their original commitments.