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British International Investment launches pioneering investment platform to boost funding for SMEs in Ghana

  • Growth Investment Partners (GIP) Ghana is a first-of-its-kind company that will provide patient, flexible local currency financing to SMEs.
  • It is supported with an anchor capital commitment of up to US$50 million from BII.
  • GIP aims to establish itself as a new alternative investment option for long-term capital from local institutional investors in Ghana.
  • GIP will help to address a critical gap in accessing finance for SMEs who are the lifeblood of the Ghanaian economy.

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI) and impact investor, today announced the launch of Growth Investment Partners (GIP) Ghana. The new platform, which will be supported with a commitment of up to US$50 million from BII (formerly known as CDC Group plc), will provide long-term flexible capital, primarily in local currency, to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West African country. The announcement comes during the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Ghana as part of a four-day visit across the continent to reinforce the UK’s commitment to boost long-term economic growth in Africa.

SMEs occupy a critical role in the Ghanaian economy, accounting for over 90 per cent of business enterprises, 60 per cent of the country’s GDP and 80 per cent of all employment. Despite their importance to the Ghanaian economy, the SME financing gap is estimated at US$4.8 billion, one of the largest in Africa.

SMEs face many challenges with accessing growth capital through traditional funding sources including high interest rates, short-term loans, high collateral requirements and currency mismatches. Compounded by a challenging macroeconomic environment, influenced by the global pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, SMEs in Ghana need access to long-term growth capital and business support designed to boost their growth, create jobs and deepen their contributions to the Ghanaian economy.

BII has created GIP as a unique and lasting solution that is not limited by typical fund investment horizons, which will enable the company to become a true long-term partner for Ghanaian businesses to fuel their growth. Furthermore, it is designed for investments from local institutional investors, contributing to the expansion of the capital market in Ghana and scaling GIP’s impact.

GIP will provide capital to SMEs of US$500k – US$5m, equivalent in local currency, through flexible financing options that meet the needs of local businesses and are otherwise not available in the market. The company will support up to 150 Ghanaian SMEs within the next 15 years.

The company, complemented by BII’s new technical assistance facility, Ghana Investment Support Programme, will also look to add value beyond capital by providing business support services and capacity building in areas of financial management, corporate governance and environmental and social practices, enabling the SME sector to grow in a productive, sustainable and inclusive way.

As part of his visit to three African countries including Ghana, the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly said: “I want the UK to be increasingly driving future-focussed, mutually beneficial partnerships with African countries operating in the world’s largest free trade area. From investments in clean energy, to companies turning waste products into fashion items, there is so much potential for economic growth across Africa. With the UK-African Investment Summit to be hosted in London in April next year, we are looking to strengthen our business links and grow our economies together. By investing in companies in Ghana today, we are investing in jobs and growth for the future.”

British High Commissioner to Ghana, Harriet Thompson added: “Ghana’s long-term economic success matters to the UK, that is why together with the BII we are supporting the SME businesses that are vital to the country’s sustainable economic reform. GIP will bridge the critical gap between these businesses and access to finance. This new platform, a global first for BII, will directly meet the needs of Ghana’s economy, increasing the opportunities needed to create jobs and support inclusive growth across the country.”

Commenting on the launch of Growth Investment Partners (GIP) Ghana, Chris Chijiutomi, MD and Head of Africa, BII said: “BII has been a strategic partner to Ghanaian businesses for 64 years. We are thrilled to bring GIP, a unique and first-of-its-kind platform, to Ghana and we are confident that it will become a valuable and long-term partner to the country’s SMEs. Our ambition is to scale GIP across other countries in the continent where there is a need to provide long-term flexible growth capital to African SMEs.”

Kwabena Asante-Poku, Coverage Director for Ghana, BII, noted: “We are excited to support the growth ambitions of investment-ready SMEs in Ghana. The launch of GIP in Accra is a testament both to our long-term commitment to the country and our conviction that supporting talented Ghanaian entrepreneurs is the most effective way to deliver transformative impact at scale.”

GIP will be run by experienced Ghanaian investment professionals with a strong track record in Africa. Jacob Kholi, Chief Executive and Investment Officer, GIP Ghana, said: “Enabling financial inclusion for Ghanaian SMEs is critical to drive economic growth across the country. With BII’s support, we hope to deliver on this ambition to unlock potential. We believe GIP will be transformative in responding to Ghanaian SMEs’ financing needs, and we look forward to supporting their ambitions to expand, innovate, and drive a sustainable, inclusive economic growth that benefits people in Ghana.”

The investment contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) – Decent Work & Economic Growth.

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