Goodwell Investments has set up the Goodwell Impact Privak fund to channel agtech investments in sub-Saharan Africa
Woman farmer with a baby in the back and a pick over her shoulder in a crop field
Photo as seen on the website of Good Nature Agro, a Goodwell portfolio company

Goodwell Investments, an investment management company based in Amsterdam with offices in Cape Town and Nairobi, has launched Goodwell Impact Privak, a Belgian fund for investments in the inclusive economy in sub-Saharan Africa. The fund was set up in response to the strong interest of several Belgian investors – particularly wealthy individuals and families – for an investment fund that would provide venture capital to fast-growing companies in the inclusive economy on the African continent.

Goodwell Impact Privak is a ‘feeder fund’. Investors can pool investments and jointly participate through the Privak in the larger Goodwell-managed uMunthu fund – a €100 million fund focused on inclusive companies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Goodwell said the new fund has already received multiple commitments from professional investors and is open to investments from €250,000.

Inclusive investments

With its investment in uMunthu, Goodwell Impact Privak aims to combine maximum social impact with a market-rate financial return.

The Goodwell Impact Privak will invest directly through uMunthu in 18 high-impact companies. The fund will build a total portfolio of 30 companies over the next years across different regions.

Half of the fund will be invested in agriculture, mobility and transport, with a specific interest for technology-driven solutions.

The uMunthu fund has recently invested in Good Nature Agro (GNA), a Zambian company working from end-to-end within the specialised legume value chains. GNA raised $2.1 million in Series A funding led by Goodwell.

GNA in the spotlight

A social enterprise, GNA was founded in 2014 by Carl Jensen, Sunday Silungwe and Kellan Hays. The company partners with smallholder farmers to improve their productivity through soil-enriching legume farming and links them to high-value legume markets to move farmers firmly into the middle class.

“We believe that every farm – regardless of size – deserves a partner who sees enough value in their capacity and their dreams to engage with them as individuals and families. Our focus on personal advice and service delivery to farmers even as we scale is the key to our social impact and our momentum,” says Jensen, GNA chief executive.

GNA farmers currently net three-to-four times as much as they earn for cash crops, like maise, on the same land.

Legumes are valuable to farmers long-term because they increase soil fertility by replacing nitrogen used by other crops, and they are resilient against climate change.

Mercy Zulu, investment associate of Goodwell Investments, said: “Agriculture in Zambia and Southern Africa, much like the rest of the continent, has an enormous social and economic footprint. However, the region’s full agricultural potential remains largely untapped due to supply chain challenges and low processing capacity.”

Zulu said that GNA is a good fit for uMunthu’s inclusive agribusiness strategy. “We are excited that our investment will support the next phase of the company’s growth, and we look forward to working with the team on this journey.”

Economic and social developments are moving fast in Africa. Half of the rapidly growing population is under the age of 35 and is working hard towards progress.

Date published: 12 October 2020

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