Sh4.1bn Australian Fund for Agribusiness

Australia-based global impact firm Palladium last week launched a Sh4.1 billion fund for investment in agribusiness value chains and off-grid clean energy ventures in Kenya.


The fund — the Palladium Impact Fund I — will also provide debt and quasi-equity investments to firms in Nigeria and Ghana. It aims to make its first close later this year.


Palladium said in a statement that it will manage the fund that is anchored by Sh517 million investment of its own capital.

Investors in the fund will include foundations, family offices, pension funds and institutional investors.


The fund said it will invest between Sh25.8 million and Sh206.9 million in small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets for “expansion, growth at scale and working capital associated with growth.”


The investments, it said, will be through a mix of debt and quasi-equity instruments with an average term of about six years.

In addition, the fund will also apply a “gender lens” which prioritises benefits to women through “economic empowerment and opportunities”.


Palladium Impact Investments head Andrew Tillery said in the statement the firm had chosen to invest in “empowering African women” for its first impact investment fund.


“Women perform the majority of agricultural activities, own a third of all firms, and are key to the welfare of their families,” he said.


The firm said the fund will aim to alleviate poverty and impact 500,000 households, as well as create at least 3500 full-time jobs, 60 percent of which will be for women.


Palladium said its work with aid agencies like USAid, UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has contributed to “a significant pipeline” of investment opportunities, local networks and a strong sense of “what real impact takes”.


Palladium’s investments on the continent include a shea nut harvesting and processing business in Ghana as well as West Africa-based off-grid solar energy power firm PEG Africa.


Company CEO Christopher Hirst said the firm is “ideally placed” to use its extensive international development work and global reach to source deals for potential credible investment opportunities.

Source: Business Daily

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