IFC exec joins private equity firm

Anthony Gichini, formerly of the IFC’s SME Support Centre, has joined socially-minded private equity firm InReturn as managing partner in Nairobi. The InReturn East Africa Fund is close to making its first investment.

InReturn Capital, which promotes economic growth and employment in East Africa by investing small- and medium-sized enterprises, has hired former International Finance Corporation (IFC) executive Anthony Gichini as a managing partner in Nairobi.

Anthony Gichini

Gichini was previously a business development officer within the IFC’s SME Solution Centre. His appointment brings to four InReturn’s staff count.

InReturn is currently raising its debut vehicle – the InReturn East Africa Fund – which will make equity and mezzanine investments in SMEs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The fund targets both social and financial returns: through its investments it aims to create sustainable employment in developing economies and generate financial returns of between 10 and 15 percent.

The fund has so far raised €5.3 million and is targeting a second close by the end of 2009 on €8 million. International development organisations Cordaid and DOEN Foundation are the fund’s two institutional investors and are joined by 20 high net worth individuals.

Having reviewed more than 90 requests for investment from East African businesses, the fund is now close to commencing its capital deployment. It has so far made indicative offers for two businesses – a milk factory and a water bottling company – with another 20 in the pipeline.