Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO and Founder, Acumen Fund pose for the cameras with A.P. PARIGI POSE

Acumen Fund, a pioneering organization that supports entrepreneurs through investment, has opened its West African branch office in Accra, Ghana.

Acumen Fund’s first investment in West Africa include a US$1 million loan to Medeem Ghana Ltd, which aims to strengthen property rights for the poor and a US$1.5 million equity investment in GADCO Coöperatief U.A (GADCO), an integrated agri-food company.

The new Acumen Fund West Africa office based in Accra, Ghana builds on the social venture fund’s support to entrepreneurs who create businesses that provide affordable housing, healthcare, education, clean energy and water, and agricultural goods and services to the poor across South Asia and East Africa.
“We have a strong foundation in place and ambitious plans for growth and impact in West Africa,” said Catherine Casey, Global Expansion Manager, Acumen Fund.

Ms. Casey led the set up of the Acumen Fund West Africa office in the first year including building operations, establishing an investment pipeline and making two investments. She will lead Acumen’s global expansion to at least three new regions by 2015.
Acumen’s West Africa office will be under the leadership of Godfrey Mwindaare, who brings over 12 years of investment experience in more than 30 African countries with Barclays Capital, Standard Bank and the African Development Bank.

Mr. Mwindaare is well-equipped to build a strong community of local entrepreneurs, donors and advisors in the region.
“I am delighted to join such a pioneering organization,” said Godfrey Mwindaare, West Africa Director, Acumen Fund.

“With 10 years of history and operating experience, we’re seeing real impact around the world, and believe that patient capital has an important role to play in West Africa. I look forward to building on our early success in Ghana, and developing a strong community of entrepreneurs and partners for Acumen Fund West Africa.”

Acumen Fund believes that building social enterprises can transform society and create more inclusive markets that serve the poor.

“We created Acumen Fund to find the enterprises, leaders and ideas that would create more dignity and more choice, unleashing more of the human energy behind all lasting solutions – that of the people who face poverty and yearn to solve their own problems,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO and Founder, Acumen Fund.

Medeem, a majority-owned Ghanaian social enterprise, has developed an innovative and sustainable approach to the formalization of land rights in Ghana.

Medeem’s proprietary ParcelCert product provides a package of evidence that documents a client’s claim of rights with respect to the land, including a government standard land survey. With the aim of providing access to land tenure security, Medeem’s offering is targeted at solving the long-standing issues of access and affordability of land rights documentation especially for society’s most vulnerable.
Documentation of land tenure affords individuals the dignity, legal empowerment and peace of mind to occupy, use and invest in the property, enabling access to services critical to economic development, including credit and basic public infrastructure.
“By making the process of formalizing land rights both affordable and accessible to all segments of society, Medeem’s program holds the promise of effecting real change in the lives of many of Africa’s farmers, small business entrepreneurs, women and families,” said Craig DeRoy, CEO, Medeem.

Another ground-breaking investment, GADCO, aims to offer opportunities to smallholder farmers, develop reliable local food markets and ensure the environmental sustainability and responsible stewardship of Ghana’s agricultural land.

The company plans to operate a modern hub farm, with an initial focus on rice production and a program that leverages the resources and infrastructure of the hub farm to support smallholder farmers.

 By Emelia Ennin Abbey

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