The climate-aligned investment targets renewable energy, agriculture, forestry and business services and will help Maris build its diverse portfolio of businesses across Africa. Proparco’s investment is made under the FISEA+ initiative, a high-impact investment facility dedicated to supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa. It is owned by Proparco’s parent company, the French Development Agency (AFD) and is part of the Choose Africa initiative.
‘We are delighted to be working with Proparco again, after a successful exit from the Maris Africa Fund in 2014, shortly before our transition to a Permanent Capital Vehicle,’ says Charlie Tryon, Maris CEO. ‘We are committed to supporting and scaling our existing portfolio of businesses and are looking to invest additional capital in more climate-aligned investments.
Proparco’s investment, through the FISEA+ initiative, will help us build capacity across Maris’ core operating divisions, accelerating the growth of the group.’
The investment will support a range of Maris operating companies, including Equator Energy, which signed its 100th project last month to become the first C&I solar company in East Africa to reach 30MW of installations. Equator Mobility, also in Maris’ renewable energy division, is expanding its range of electric cars and vans, placing Maris firmly at the forefront of Kenya’s e-mobility revolution. META Group, Maris’ pan-African machinery distribution and servicing business, is rapidly expanding its footprint into Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia.
Agris, Maris’ agriculture platform also continues to grow: Evergreen Herbs has successfully rehabilitated two distressed herb farms and is now producing more than 90 tonnes per month of fresh herbs for export. Evergreen Fresh has rapidly become one of the leading fresh fruit and vegetable distributors in Kenya. Agris is developing a centre of excellence for avocado production and research in Naivasha, Kenya. Proparco’s new investment will also facilitate Agris Carbon Ventures, a forestry and carbon development business with new projects in the pipeline across Africa.
‘Proparco is again supporting a key impact investor whose investment philosophy aligns with the FISEA+’s mandate of supporting SMEs in fragile countries,’ said Françoise Lombard, Proparco CEO. ‘The investment also meets our sector objectives in renewable energy and agriculture.’
Since 2009, Maris has started-up and built a portfolio of more than 20 SMEs across 11 countries in East and Southern Africa, creating more than 2,500 new direct jobs and maintaining more than 500 existing jobs. Women represent 40% of total employment, which qualifies Maris for the #2XChallenge, a global gender finance initiative.