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Need to raise money for business in 2024? These are the Top 100 Places to target

Every year, these organisations provide over $1 billion in equity, loans, and grants to businesses and projects across Africa. If you're looking to start a project or grow a business on the continent, these should be your top 100 targets.

Entrepreneurs in Africa struggle to raise funds for business. But many aren't looking in the right places. Photo by Anaya Katlego

As the world seeks high-growth opportunities in emerging markets, a lot of money is flowing into Africa to fund viable businesses and high-impact projects.

Every year, global investors stake up to $50 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) that fund various businesses and projects across Africa.

In addition to these FDI inflows, another $35 billion enters the continent annually as official development assistance (ODA) that provides grants and loans for various initiatives and projects.

But to stand a chance to access any of this funding, you need to knock on the right doors and look in the right places.

This detailed guide profiles the most active investment firms, private capital funds, international donor funds, development organisations, philanthropic foundations, and support platforms that invest in businesses, projects and initiatives on the African continent.

If you're looking for equity funding, loans, grants, or a hybrid financing solution, this guide provides valuable information on the offerings, focus areas, sample African investments, and contact information of these 100 organisations.

Note: Raising money from investors can be a confusing, difficult, and very competitive process. That's why we created the Funding Masterclass course to help you stand out. The course covers all important aspects of the fundraising process, from prospecting and pitching, to formal documentation, term sheets, and due diligence. Click here to take the course.

100. Leapfrog Investments

LeapFrog Investments is a private impact investment firm that invests in high-growth financial services and healthcare companies in emerging markets.

In 2019, it announced the largest-ever private equity fund by a dedicated impact fund manager, surging past its $600 million target to reach $700 million.

Its key investors include many of the world’s leading insurers, pension funds and asset managers, development finance institutions, private foundations, and family offices.

Types of capital you can get: LeapFrog provides equity capital for business growth and expansion. Typical investments are between $10 million and $50 million.

Where it invests: LeapFrog solely targets financial services and healthcare businesses in Asia and Africa.

Notable investments in Africa

  • US$22 million equity investment in Goodlife Pharmacy, a pharmacy chain in Kenya.
  • US$180 million equity investment in Enterprise Group, a financial services provider in Ghana.
  • US$14 million equity investment in Apollo, a provider of micro-insurance services in East Africa.
  • See other Leapfrog investments here.

Contact information: Addr: Select the regional office address closest to you here. | Tel: +27 11 065 0800 | Email: Contact form | Website:

99. African Finance Corporation (AFC)

The African Finance Corporation is an African-led, investment-grade, multilateral development finance institution established in 2007.

Its mission is to improve African economies by proactively developing and financing infrastructure, industrial and financial opportunities.

The AFC is involved as an investor, developer, and financier of various infrastructure projects. Since its inception, AFC has committed US$3 billion to fund large-scale infrastructure projects.

Type of capital you can get: The AFC provides project finance, trade finance, structured debt, greenfield equity, and buy-out capital. It also provides advisory support in areas such as project development, project management, capital raisings, and restructurings.

Where it invests: The AFC provides capital to businesses and projects in the following areas: power, transportation and logistics, heavy industries, natural resources, and telecommunications.

Notable investments in Africa

  • US$100 million convertible bond notes to Aker Energy’s deep water offshore oil project in Ghana.
  • US$37 million equity investment in MainOne System, a 7,000km undersea fiber optic cable system that links Europe to West Africa.
  • €50 million in debt provided for the 420MW Nachtigal hydropower project in Cameroon.

Contact information: Address: 3A Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria | Tel: +234 1 279 9600 | Email: | Website:

Since starting Paga, a fintech company in Nigeria, founder Tayo Oviosu has raised more than $35 million from investors, including a $5 million equity investment by the Global Innovation Fund.

98. Global Innovation Fund

The Global Innovation Fund (GIF) is a charity and non-profit innovation fund that invests in the development, rigorous testing, and scaling of innovations targeted at improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.

The fund is backed by the UK’s DFID (now FCDO), America’s USAID, and the Omidyar Network, among others.

Types of capital you can get: GIF provides grants, loans (including convertible debt), and equity investments ranging from $50,000 to $15 million.

Where it invests: GIF targets entrepreneurs, for-profit firms, non-profit organisations, researchers, and government agencies in any sector in low- or lower-middle income countries.

Notable investments in Africa:

  • US$5 million equity investment in Paga, a leading provider of mobile payments and digital services in Nigeria.
  • US$500,000 convertible loan to CityTaps, a provider of water utilities to the urban poor in the Republic of Niger
  • US$230,000 grant to IDInsight for the pilot and test of an innovative approach to information dissemination in Zambia.
  • See other Global Innovation Fund investments here.

Contact information: Address: WeWork/Spice Building, 8 Devonshire Square, London, UK. | Twitter: @GlobalInnovationFund | Email: | Website:

97. Emerging Capital Partners (ECP)

Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) is one of the largest and longest-established private equity fund managers focused on Africa.

Investing in Africa since 2000, ECP has raised over $3.2 billion in growth capital through funds and co-investment vehicles. It has made over 70 investments in African businesses with nearly 60 successful exits.

Types of capital you can get: Provides only equity and equity-linked investments.

Where it invests: ECP exclusively focuses on Africa. It targets businesses that benefit from the fundamental, long-term structural demographic and economic shifts driving Africa’s growth.

Notable investments in Africa

  • US$32 million investment in IHS, a provider of mobile telecoms infrastructure in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia
  • Participation in US$80 million investment in Atlas Bottling, a bottler of PepsiCo drinks in Algeria.
  • US$15.9 million investment in Bacim Bank, one of the major banking groups in Mauritania.
  • See other ECP investments here.

Contact information: Address: Select the regional office address closest to you at this link. | Tel: +27-11-685-0830 | Email: Contact form | Website:

96. British International Investment (BII)

Founded in 1948 and formerly known as the CDC Group, British International Investment (BII) is a development finance institution owned by the UK government.

It invests between £1.5 billion and £2 billion every year in green infrastructure, technology, and other sectors mentioned below. It partners with over 1,000 businesses in emerging economies and has total assets of over £7.5 billion.

Type of capital you can get: BII provides equity ($10m – $250 million); private equity ($150 million); and debt ($10m - $250 million) for project finance, corporate lending, trade finance, and lending to financial institutions.

Where it invests: BII provides capital to businesses and projects in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean in the following areas: financial services, infrastructure, health, manufacturing, food and agriculture, construction and real estate, and education.

Notable investments in Africa:

  • US$8 million in Jacoma Estates, an agribusiness in Malawi.
  • US$83 million debt financing for the 200MW Amandi power project in Ghana.
  • US$20m indirect investment in Flash Vehicles, a car hiring and leasing company operating in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
  • See other BII investments here.

Contact information: Address: 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE, United Kingdom | Tel: +44 (0)20 7963 4700 | E: Contact Page | Website:

95. Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation is a global foundation that was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors.

With commitments of nearly US$4.4 billion, the foundation has partnered with organizations to increase financial inclusion and access to youth learning in Africa.

Types of capital you can get: The Mastercard Foundation provides grants to its partners, projects, and initiatives.

Where it invests: The Foundation is active in 29 African countries. It targets partners (entrepreneurs, businesses, and organizations) working on innovative financial solutions and education programs.

Notable investments in Africa:

  • US$158 million grant to the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab, a financial inclusion program for smallholder farmers in Africa
  • US$39.4 million grant to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, a tertiary education and research institute in South Africa.
  • US$52.6 million to the African Leadership Academy, a private chain of high schools in Mauritius, Rwanda, and South Africa.
  • See other Mastercard Foundation programs and initiatives here.

Contact information: Twitter: @mastercardfdn | Email: Contact form | Website:

Agrocenta, an agritech startup in Ghana, wins the $500,000 grand prize investment at the 2018 Seedstars Global competition in Lausanne, Switzerland. Photo credit: Seedstars

94. Seedstars World

Seedstars World is a Swiss-based startup competition and accelerator that focuses on emerging markets.

It runs over 100 local competitions where it provides training and mentoring, and selects the best seed-stage startup from each country.

The country winners compete in a regional event to get qualified to join the Seedstars Global Summit in Switzerland where a global winner is selected. In addition to funding, the Seedstars World Global Winner gets several valuable resources and perks.

Types of capital you can get: Seedstars provides equity and quasi-equity investment of up to US$500,000 and additional grants and perks.

Where it invests: Seedstars targets entrepreneurs and startups in emerging markets (Africa, Asia, and Latin America) that have a demonstrable product or service.

Notable investments in Africa:

  • US$500,000 equity investment in Giraffe, a low-cost mobile and digital recruitment startup in South Africa.
  • US$500,000 equity investment in Agrocenta, an agriculture tech startup in Ghana that supports smallholder farmers.
  • See other Seedstars investments at this link.

How to apply: Seedstars selections happen from June to November each year. Selected startups take part in local, regional, and then global stage competitions. Visit the application page.

Note: Raising money from investors can be a confusing, difficult, and very competitive process. That's why we created the Funding Masterclass course to help you stand out. The course covers all important aspects of the fundraising process, from prospecting and pitching, to formal documentation, term sheets, and due diligence. Click here to take the course.

93. International Finance Corporation (IFC)

The IFC is a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group. It is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries.

Since 1956, the IFC has leveraged $2.6 billion in capital to deliver more than $285 billion in financing for businesses in developing countries.

Type of capital you can get: The IFC provides loans, equity, trade and supply chain finance, syndications, blended finance, and venture capital.

Where it invests:

The IFC only invests in for-profit projects and businesses in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America.

It focuses on the following industries: agribusiness and forestry, financial institutions, funds, health, education, infrastructure, manufacturing, oil & gas, mining, public-private partnerships, telecoms, media & technology, tourism, retail, and real estate.

Notable investments in Africa:

  • US$12.4 million equity investment in Hygeia, a healthcare provider in Nigeria.
  • US$5 million equity investment and a $40.5m loan to Kipoi Copper, a copper mining company in the DRC.
  • US$22 million loan to Bounty Brands, an FMCG company in South Africa.
  • See other IFC investments here.

Contact information: Address: 2121 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20433 USA | Tel: +1 (202) 473-1000 | Email: Inquiry form | W:

92. TLcom Capital

TLcom Capital LLP is a venture capital firm based in Nairobi, Lagos, and London. Since its inception in 1999, it has managed total funds in excess of €300 million.

Since its founding, TLcom Capital has invested in and exited leading-edge companies in Europe, USA, and Africa across all technology sectors, from semiconductor manufacturing to mobile solutions and services, and at all stages of development, from seed to growth capital.

Types of capital you can get: TLcom provides equity and invests between $500,000 and $10 million in a company.

Where it invests: Exclusively focused on companies in the telecom, media and technology (TMT) industries in Europe, Israel, and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Notable investments in Africa

  • Participation in US$40 million equity in Andela, a talent outsourcing firm in Nigeria
  • Co-investment in US$10 million equity in Twiga Foods, an e-Commerce and logistics company in Kenya.
  • US$5 million investment in Terragon Group, a Nigerian data analytics firm.
  • See other TLcom investments here.

Contact information: Address: 304 Borno Way, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria | Tel: +234 708 4974244 | Email: | Website:

91. FinnFund

Finnfund, officially known as the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Limited, is a development finance institution with the government of Finland as the majority shareholder.

Every year, Finnfund makes 20 to 30 new investments valued at €150 million to €200 million.

Finnfund has made investments and commitments in 171 projects across 39 countries, totaling €719 million by 2017.

Type of capital you can get: FinnFund provides between 1 million and 25 million euros in the following formats:

  • Equity (with a 5 to 7-year exit timeline),
  • Long-term loans (5-10 years tenor), and
  • Mezzanine financing.

Where it invests:

FinnFund only invests in privately-owned businesses in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

It focuses its investments in the following industries: clean energy, sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture, digital infrastructure, and financial institutions – but also invests in a range of other industries.

Notable investments in Africa

  • US$8 million equity investment in Miro Forestry, a producer of wood products in Ghana and Sierra Leone
  • US$10 million equity in EthioChicken, a producer of poultry products in Ethiopia
  • US$10 million loan to Access Bank, a financial institution in Nigeria
  • See other Finnfund investments here.

Contact information: Address: Porkkalankatu 22 A, P.O. Box 147, FI-00181 Helsinki, Finland. | Tel: +358 9 348 434 | Email: Contact details | W:

90. Helios Investment Partners

Founded in 2004, Helios is one of the largest Africa-focused private investment firms in the world, with $3 billion under management. It manages a diverse portfolio of private equity and credit investments in over 30 African countries.

In January 2020, Helios Investment Partners became the largest emerging markets-focused private equity firm to receive a B Corp certification.

Types of capital you can get: Helios provides debt, equity, and equity-linked investments.

Where it invests: Helios focuses on African businesses in the following sectors: financial services and technology, digital infrastructure, tech-enabled business services, and consumer non-discretionary industries.

Notable investments in Africa

  • US$10 million equity investment in Off-Grid Electric (now Zola Electric), a provider of solar products in East Africa.
  • ~US$1 billion investment in Vivo Energy, operator of over 2,100 Shell and Engen branded service stations in 23 African countries.
  • US$100 million equity investment in Bayport, a financial services firm in Africa.
  • See other Helios investments here.

Contact information: Address: Select the regional office address closest to you here. | Tel: +44 207 484-7700 | Email: Contact form | Website:

Ms. Temie Giwa-Tubosun receives the $250,000 prize for her startup, LifeBank, a medical supplies provider in Nigeria. Photo credit: @africa_heroes

89. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation (BMGF), previously the William H. Gates Foundation, is a private foundation founded by Bill and Melinda Gates.

Based in Seattle, Washington, it was launched in 2000 and is the wealthiest private foundation in the world, holding more than $50 billion in endowments. It has given away over $65 billion in grants since its inception.

The foundation is controlled by its three trustees: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett (who has donated $35.7 billion to the foundation).

Types of capital you can get: BMGF provides grants. However, through its Strategic Investment Fund, it provides equity investments and debt (loans and credit).

Where it invests: In Africa, BMGF focuses on healthcare, disease prevention, agricultural development, financial services for the poor, gender equality, water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Notable investments in Africa

  • US$200 million grant to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) for agricultural intervention programs.
  • US$52 million grant to the African Agricultural Technology Foundation for the development of hybrid maize varieties.
  • US$16.3 million grant to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria.
  • See other Gates Foundation investments here.

Contact information: Tel: +1 (206) 709-3400 | Email: Contact form | Website:

88. Blue Haven Ventures

Blue Haven Ventures is the venture capital fund of Blue Haven Initiative, an impact investment organization based in the United States and one of the largest investment funds in the world dedicated solely to impact investing.

It sources direct investments that are off the radar for most U.S.-based venture capital investors by finding and engaging entrepreneurs and growing its financial commitment over time.

Types of capital you can get: Blue Haven provides equity, quasi-equity, term loans, working capital finance, and mezzanine debt. Offers between $250,000 to $1 million with the potential to grow investment to $5 million+ over time.

Where it invests: Blue Haven targets early-stage (seed and Series A+) and innovative businesses in sub-Saharan Africa that focus on financial services, climate change, logistics, and healthcare.

Notable investments in Africa

  • US$2 million investment in Shortlist, a provider of recruitment solutions in Kenya.
  • US$10.3 million co-investment in Twiga Foods, an aggregator and distributor of agricultural produce and food staples in Kenya
  • US$13.5 million co-investment in PegAfrica, a provider of solar power solutions in West Africa.
  • See other Blue Haven Ventures investments here.

Contact information: Email: | Twitter: @_BlueHaven | Website:

Note: Raising money from investors can be a confusing, difficult, and very competitive process. That's why we created the Funding Masterclass course to help you stand out. The course covers all important aspects of the fundraising process, from prospecting and pitching, to formal documentation, term sheets, and due diligence. Click here to take the course.

87. Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)

The Africa-based AECF was launched at the World Economic Forum in 2007 and began operations in 2008 when it launched its first competition.

Since its founding, it has supported over 375 businesses in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, impacted more than 30 million lives, created over 27,000 direct jobs, and leveraged US $771 million in matching funds.

The fund is supported by the development finance institutions of Australia, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK.

Types of capital you can get: AECF provides grants, zero-interest loans, and working capital funds. It also provides competition awards between US$100,000 and US$ 1.5 million.

Where it invests: AECF targets African agribusiness, rural financial services, communications systems, renewable energy, and adaptation of innovative technologies to combat climate change.

Notable investments in Africa:

  • US$11 million in grants, loans, and equity to several agribusinesses in Somalia, Sierra Leone, the DRC, and Liberia.
  • US$12 million investment in renewable and solar power projects in Nigeria.
  • See all AECF investments in Africa here.

Contact information: Address: West End Towers, Kanjata Road Off Muthangari Drive, Nairobi, Kenya | Tel: +254 703 033 394 | Email: | Website:

86. Alibaba & Jack Ma Foundation

Founded by Chinese billionaire, Alibaba founder and philanthropist, Jack Ma, the Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation jointly sponsor the Africa Business Heroes (ABH) Prize.

ABH is a $100 million program that provides $1.5 million in competition-based annual grants.

Types of capital you can get: ABH provides grant funding, training programs, and support for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The Top 10 finalists in the ABH Prize competition share $1.5 million in grants; the first prize takes home $300,000, while the 2nd and 3rd prize winners take home $250,000 and $150,000 respectively.

Where it invests: ABH targets businesses from all African countries. It is sector-agnostic and businesses from all industries can apply.

Notable investments in Africa:

  • US$250,000 grant to LifeBank, a healthcare technology and logistics company in Nigeria.
  • US$150,000 grant to MoneyMart Finance, a microcredit provider in Zimbabwe.
  • US$250,000 grant to Releaf, a supply chain technology company that supplies ingredients to food factories in Nigeria.
  • See other ABH investments here.

Contact information: Tel: +250 792 575 614. | Email: Contact form | Website:

85. Y Combinator

Launched in 2005, Y Combinator (YC) is a US-based accelerator that consistently ranks as one of the top accelerators in the world.

In its main program, YC interviews and selects two or more batches of startups per year from several countries around the world. The selected companies receive funding, coaching, and introductions to top investors.

YC has backed many of the world’s top startup unicorns that include Stripe, Airbnb, DoorDash, Dropbox, Coinbase, and others.

As of 2023, Y Combinator had invested in over 4,000 companies with a combined valuation of $600 billion.

Types of capital you can get: YC invests $500,000 in every selected company on standard terms.

Where it invests: YC targets tech-enabled startups in several different sectors, from education and energy to financial services and healthcare. Learn more here.

Notable investments in Africa:

  • US$500,000 investment in Payourse, a Nigerian fintech startup focused on infrastructure for crypto products.
  • US$500,000 investment in Patika, a platform for automating receivables for SMEs in Kenya
  • US$500,000 investment in Garage, an online auto parts marketplace in Ghana.
  • US$500,000 investment in Senegal’s Moneco, a neo-bank for African migrants in Europe
  • See other Y Combinator investments in African startups here.

How to apply: YC accepts applications for two 3-month programs every ... Continue reading…

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