African Rivers Fund (ARF)


BIO has committed USD 5 million in equity to a new SME fund targeting the central African region, the African Rivers Fund. The African Rivers Fund (“ARF”) targets growing, well-managed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda and Republic of Congo as well as Burundi and Central African Republic (CAR). The fund is named after the two most powerful rivers in Africa, the Congo and Nile Rivers, which embody the potential of the Central African region. ARF follows the successful investment strategy of its predecessor, the Central Africa SME Fund (“CASF”), by providing debt, equity and mezzanine finance to fast-growing companies in the Central African region. BIO joins together with the CDC Group (the UK development finance institution), Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and FISEA (AFD Group) the three current investors in CASF, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), FMO (the Dutch development bank) and Lundin Foundation (Canadian foundation), in the African Rivers Fund.

ARF is managed by XSML, an experienced fund manager that also managed CASF.

By investing in ARF, BIO supports the development of companies in areas with high political risk, where long-term funding is hard to obtain. ARF will provide loans with longer tenor and grace periods, not offered by commercial banks. Furthermore, ARF will provide technical assistance to improve the management and processes of the companies. ARF also supports companies to develop so as to comply by international standards in terms of operations and Environmental and Social responsibility.


  • Investment amount (€):

    € 4.12 M

    Target countries: DRC, Uganda, Congo, Burundi and Central African Republic Registered Office: Mauritius

  • Contract signature :


  • Nature of intervention :


  • Development impacts :

    • 1 — Local economic growth
    • 2 — Private sector consolidation/innovation