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Norfund’s Kenyan venture invests in Tanzanian agro-processing company

Fanisi is a $50 million venture capital fund making direct investments in high growth businesses, set up by Amani Capital and the Norwegian development fund.

Kenya-based venture capital fund Fanisi Capital has acquired a stake in a Tanzanian agro-processing company for $6 million.

Kijenge Animal Products mills maize and animal feed, and produces poultry. It is based in Arusha, in the north of the country.

“This deal marks our first transaction in Tanzania and is in line with our sectoral focus area of agribusiness in the East African region,” Tony Wainaina, Fanisi Capital’s managing partner, said in a statement.

Fanisi is a $50 million fund which makes direct private equity and venture capital investments across agribusiness, healthcare, energy and natural resources services, retail and consumer and education. It was founded in 2009 by Amani Capital, a Kenyan asset manager, and Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries.

The fund said it acquired about 40 percent in the agro-processor, according to the press release. Wainaina said the deal presented a huge growth opportunity for both firms in the Tanzanian market. “We are supporting a company with a long history and a good brand name in the Tanzania market,” he noted in a statement.

Fanisi sees agribusiness as a high-potential sector, as it currently provides half of East Africa’s employment and even more in trade, according to the company’s website.

Kijenge’s founder and chairman Andrew Mollel said in a statement that the partnership with Fanisi will allow the company to diversify its products. “We felt that Fanisi was the right partner for us as it shared the Kijenge vision and their approach to investing goes beyond the provision of capital. This partnership provides us with growth capital which will enable us to diversify our product offering and further support our customers’ needs.”

The fund currently holds three other agri and food companies in its portfolio including ProDev Group Holdings, a company engaged in value-creation businesses along the maize supply chain;  European Foods Africa, a local medium-sized enterprise involved in the cold chain frozen foods distribution; and Ngare Narok Meat Industries, a producer and supplier of prime meat cuts and other processed meat products.