Norfund, FMO and Rabobank have entered into a partnership to reaffirm their long-term commitment to Africa’s future development, growth potential and the local financial sector. The partners are committed to strengthen and develop effective, inclusive financial systems in Africa. It is also envisioned that Banco Montepio, a financial group based in Portugal with banking investments in Africa, will join the partnership in the near future.

The partners currently hold stakes in several financial service providers (FSPs) in Sub-Saharan Africa which they have agreed to pool together. The new company, to be named Arise, will start with a presence in over 20 countries, a USD 660 million in assets and is anticipated to grow to USD 1 billion. Arise will take and manage minority stakes in African FSPs. The key ambition is to build strong and stable FSPs that will serve retail, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the rural sector, and clients who have not previously had access to financial services.

Norfund, FMO and Rabobank have been active in Africa for many years with a positive impact in local markets. Through Arise, the partners will continue to adequately support the growth and development of the FSPs by providing among others technical assistance and management services in the field of governance, management, marketing, innovation, compliance and risk management. Capital will also be allocated for new investments. Arise will be operational from 1 January 2017.

Berry Marttin, Executive Board Member of Rabobank: “Rabobank’s activities in investing and building strong financial service providers in emerging economies, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, truly fit our Banking for Food strategy; focused on creating solutions with our clients to feed the world in 2050. It is therefore very important to us to take this approach to a higher level. By joining forces and pooling assets, networks and expertise with Norfund and FMO, two highly experienced development institutions of excellent reputation, we are taking a major step forward.”

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