LARNACA, Cyprus & NAIROBI, Kenya – Vital Capital, a pioneering impact investor that has been working with companies in sub-Saharan Africa for more than a decade, is pleased to announce the approval of two new loans from its Vital Impact Relief Facility (VIRF), which was launched last year to help fundamentally sound African businesses navigate short-term challenges.
The two loans were made to Sollatek, a leading manufacturer of solar and voltage control products, and Privamnuts, a macadamia nut processor and exporter which is leading the modernization of the macadamia industry in Kenya. Both companies are examples of promising and successful private enterprises that are bringing about positive economic and social impact to the communities in which they operate.
The solar and power control products that Sollatek distributes, for example, provide essential services to rural and peri-urban households and businesses in East Africa that are without access to the grid or stable energy sources. Sollatek’s photovoltaic systems represent the most affordable option for electrifying homes in many rural, sparsely populated areas.
Privamnuts, which sources its nuts from the slopes of Mount Kenya, provides a key link between the more than 10,000 smallholder farmers who represent its exclusive suppliers and the export markets, where Kenya is the third-largest macadamia nut producer in the world. Privamnuts’ strategic goals include improving smallholders’ access to agricultural training, the financial health of farmers, and opportunities for women, who make up the majority of Privamnuts’ smallholder suppliers and employees.
“We are excited to be partnering with Vital Capital, with whom our goals are aligned,” said Privamnuts Managing Director, Patrick Mukundi Mbogo. “Privamnuts and Vital believe in creating high quality jobs that can improve the economic and social well-being of workers and uplift communities without sacrificing performance.”
Vital launched the debt facility last year amid the global pandemic, when it was clear that economic shocks caused by the spread of Covid-19 threatened the ability of even financially strong African businesses to continue providing essential jobs and essential services to communities in need.
Though some economies in Africa are emerging from the worst of the pandemic, what remains clear is that even under normal circumstances, promising small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) require occasional support to navigate short-term challenges. This is why Vital Capital remains committed to utilizing its debt facility to safeguard the positive financial, social, and environmental impact that successful SMEs are bringing to their communities.
“While the global economy may be emerging from the pandemic, many impactful small and medium sized businesses in Africa face ongoing challenges at the same time that foreign direct investments in African are falling,” said Nimrod Gerber, Managing Partner, Vital Capital. “The Vital Impact Relief Facility was designed to give these SMEs a chance to fight through these short-term challenges and realize their visions of becoming prosperous companies benefiting African workers and communities.”
When VIRF was created in April 2020, Vital indicated it would initially launch in East Africa but is committed to expanding that focus to West Africa, including Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal.
Vital Capital has been making targeted investments in sub-Saharan Africa since 2011, with the aim of improving the economic, personal and social well-being for people in low and middle-income communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Every year, Vital’s investments touch the lives of more than five million people who receive essential products or services through Vital’s portfolio companies.