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Proparco, through AFD Group’s FISEA+ initiative, has just closed a $12m equity round with Maris Limited, an impact investor with expertise in frontier markets in East and Southern Africa.

The climate-aligned investment will fund start-ups and SMEs in renewable energy, agriculture and business services, with net negative GHG emissions for the activities concerned.

Since 2009, Maris has built a portfolio of 20 SMEs across 11 countries in East and Southern Africa, particularly in fragile countries such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Mozambique.

Working with local business partners, Maris pursues a majority investment strategy and, to date has either created or turned around all of its investee companies. In the process, Maris has created more than 2,500 new direct jobs and maintained more than 500 existing jobs. Women represent 40% of total employment, which qualifies Maris for the 2X Challenge, a global gender finance initiative.

After a first investment in Maris in 2010, Proparco is again supporting a key impact investor whose investment philosophy aligns with FISEA’s mandate of supporting SMEs in fragile countries. The investment also meets our sector objectives in renewable energy and agriculture,” said Françoise Lombard, Proparco’s CEO. 

We are delighted to be working with Proparco again as we continue to build Maris and its diverse portfolio of businesses. We remain committed to supporting and scaling our existing portfolio of businesses, and will be looking to invest additional capital in more climate aligned investments such as our renewables divisions, Agris- our agriculture platform, Agris Carbon Ventures, our forestry and carbon development business and in supporting the expansion of META Group, our pan African machinery distribution and servicing business” commented Charlie Tryon, Maris’ CEO.