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Victus Global Capital to bring Gender Lens Investing to Africa

Africa Global Funds
May 29, 2017, midnight

Word count: 506

Victus Global Capital (VGC) is in the process of building its initial $50m fund with the stated objective of assisting women-led and/or women-focused agri-businesses in Africa, Africa Global Funds has learned. 

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Victus Global Capital (VGC) is in the process of building its initial $50m fund with the stated objective of assisting women-led and/or women-focused agri-businesses in Africa, Africa Global Funds has learned. 

VGC was established by African women to facilitate the financial and social betterment of women across their home continent. 

The company is currently working on a pipeline of projects and aims to make individual investments of between $250,000 and $10m.

Together, its two founders – Bo Masole and Zee de Gersigny – have more than 30 years’ expertise in targeted investment and food technology. 

Partnering them in this venture is African asset management specialist Altree Capital.

The VGC initiative aims to address the missing middle in African agriculture and pursue systemic gender-based social change through the practice of Gender Lens Investing. 

It is believed that this is an increasingly salient trend in global investment. 

Gender Lens Investing focuses on funding women-owned businesses, companies with a track-record of employing women, and businesses that can be shown to have improved the lives of women through their products and services.

“I believe there are three long-standing problems that have caused African agricultural development to stagnate. These are lack of technical expertise or know-how; lack of access to markets; and lack of access to finance,” said Masole, who is also founder of fellow VGC Group company, the food security consultancy Victus Global.

Successive studies indicate that Gender Lens Investing is a powerful method by which to resolve these longstanding problems, added de Gersigny. 

“SMEs represent 45% of employment and 33% of GDP in emerging markets, and one-third of these SMEs are women-owned – yet 70% of the SMEs in this category are underserved by financial institutions. This means that huge opportunities to increase employment and production are being missed year after year,” she said.

Boosting agricultural output is fundamental because, despite decades of investment, Africa remains a net importer of food to the value of $22bn every year, according to the Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations.

“Given that more than 60% of the world’s

uncultivated arable land is situated on the African continent – and only a small percentage of suitable agricultural land is currently being irrigated – this is a situation that has remained unaddressed for far too long,” said Masole. 

“And with the worldwide population expected to rise to 9.7bn by 2050, there is a global context to this as well. Quite simply, we need to produce more food for the world – and Africa is the place to do it,” she said.

Having been active in African investment and asset management for more than 25 years, Jenni Chamberlain, CEO of Altree Capital, believes that the VGC venture “is one of the most exciting of all those with which I have been involved”. 

“Through the expertise of Bo and Zee, and the practice of Gender Lens Investing, the path is clear to enhancing the lives and businesses of African women for generations to come,” she said.

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