INVESTMENT

Acumen gears for new phase of Sh50bn regional investment

Appoints Chris Maranga as East Africa Director.

In Summary

•Since 2008, Acumen East Africa has been actively investing in enterprises in climate-resilient agriculture, clean energy, and education.

•It has deployed Sh6 billion to fund 43 companies, including Ampersand, BURN Manufacturing, d.light, and Ethiochicken (part of Hatch Africa). 

Newly appointed Acumen East Africa Regional Director Chris Maranga/HANDOUT
Newly appointed Acumen East Africa Regional Director Chris Maranga/HANDOUT

In preparation for its next growth phase in East Africa, Acumen, a global impact investment firm has announced new executive leadership, amid a new phase of investments.   

Its New York head office has announced the appointment of Chris Maranga from the Danish Development Finance Institution’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), as East Africa Director. 

The firm noted that Maranga’s remit is to lead Acumen’s East Africa impact investing programmes, with an emphasis on funding more local entrepreneurs in climate-related and agricultural ventures, growing the Acumen Academy and extending its impact beyond the 123 million lives it has touched over the past 20 years.

To power this new phase of its regional investment direction, Acumen’s work in East Africa is backed by the latest Sh32.5 billion ($250 million) Hardest-to-Reach Initiative to deepen energy access, in the process expanding the firm’s efforts to support entrepreneurs in off-grid solar and clean energy infrastructure businesses to extend access to rural and urban households.

Acumen also has two climate impact funds known as KawiSafi Ventures and Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund, which have collectively raised Sh 17 billion ($136 million) to fund clean energy and resilient agriculture solutions in the region. 

In total, Acumen has raised about Sh50 billion for its impact investment programs across Africa. 

“Acumen is dedicated to driving social change and our mission here is to enhance the lives of the millions of East Africans through empowering local entrepreneurs, that currently lack access to the capital and support they deserve to scale their businesses successfully”, said Maranga, Acumen East Africa Director. 

Acumen proposes to invest in innovative social business models that solve problems, in ways that conventional investors have typically shied away from, he noted.

Since 2008, Acumen East Africa has been actively investing in enterprises in climate-resilient agriculture, clean energy, and education, deploying Sh6 billion to fund 43 companies, including Ampersand, BURN Manufacturing, d.light, and Ethiochicken (part of Hatch Africa). 

“We are thrilled to welcome Chris Maranga as the new director of the Acumen East Africa team,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen. 

She added that Acumen is at an inflection point with its patient investments scaling, supported by a series of for-profit impact funds, while the Acumen Academy is also growing—as is its impact, amid the challenges East Africa faces. 

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