About this Report

This report is compiled annually and reflects
salient operational data on Arise for the 2021
reporting period.

For questions regarding the report, please contact
Zeenat Parker on +27 21 300 2222 or via email at

The Report



Impact Report
Our Work
Investing in Africa
Arise Partner
Bank Case Studies

1. Forewords

The Foreword from our Supervisory Board Chairman, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, and the Review by our Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Albert Jonkergouw, give a comprehensive overview of Arise’s activities during the 2021 financial year.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects continued to be felt by Arise’s partner banks, but their resilience was notable. The organisation worked relentlessly to realise its vision of contributing to economic growth and prosperity in Sub-Saharan Africa, through increasing financial inclusion and employment, strengthening rural development and alleviating poverty.

Arise has, furthermore, augmented its three existing strategic pillars – Investment, Governance and Value Creation – with a fourth pillar, Collaborative Partnerships. This will allow the organisation to move one step closer to achieving long-term market returns that go beyond stakeholder expectations, whilst at the same time ensuring that it delivers on its mission of investing in Africa’s local prosperity.

2. Organisational Overview

Arise is a leading African boutique investment company backed by reputable cornerstone investors: Norfund, NorFinance, FMO and Rabo Partnerships. Arise partners with sustainable locally-owned financial service providers in Sub-Saharan Africa to help them become industry leaders in their respective markets. Arise’s in-depth local knowledge, minority shareholding and hands-on approach provide them with the support they need to become financially sustainable and a strong contributor to the local economy.

The organisation’s investment portfolio consists of minority stakes in nine financial institutions based in eight countries. These range across the continent of Africa from East to West. Through Arise’s investments in Ecobank and Equity Bank, Arise has an additional presence in over 33 countries, by virtue of these banks’ subsidiaries across the continent.

3. Organisational Highlights

Highlights for 2021 included the Arise investment portfolio value recording an increase of 12%, rising from USD 903 million in 2020 to USD 1 015 million at the end of 2021. This is a significant milestone for Arise, as the company has now exceeded its initial USD 1 billion investment target.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, various strategic value-creation activities were successfully executed in 2021, encompassing risk and compliance, technology, cyber security, banking innovation, credit management, liquidity management, data management and environmental, social and governance (ESG) interventions. A new series of value-creation pillars, together with a new seven-pillar sustainability framework, were introduced and supported by a successful ESG-focused webinar. This activity meant that partnerships deepened to create significant inroads in banking product innovation, technology and ESG in particular.

4. Development Impact Report

The development impact report reflects the combined contribution of our partner banks to economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa via a range of metrics. These measures reflect their socioeconomic contribution in their respective communities and provide insight into the progress of the banks’ efforts to support a range of developmental objectives. These Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-aligned metrics include financial inclusion, small business development, rural development, digital innovation, employment, skills development, gender equality in the workplace, fiscal contribution and capacity building in general.

2021 was a year of mixed economic performance, especially for developing markets. Although there was some recovery from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was tempered by continued uncertainty and economic disruption associated with new variants, as well as broader macroeconomic challenges.

5. Our Work – Investing in Africa

The Arise portfolio banks faced several challenges with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but showed incredible resilience. The significant increase in the value of the portfolio is mainly attributable to a significant increase in the values of the three largest investments in the portfolio: Equity Group Holdings, NMB and Ecobank. They all benefited from flight-to-safety activity and have emerged from the pandemic considerably stronger.

The reports of all partner banks, across the various developmental metrics mentioned previously, are included in detail in this section of the report. These results reflect the realisation of Arise’s vision of promoting financial inclusion, technical innovation, employment and gender equality, as well as strengthening rural development and alleviating poverty in the countries in which our partner banks are based.

6. Arise Partner Bank Case Studies

We have selected three case studies from our partner banks Equity Bank, NMB and Zanaco. The first concerns the Kenyan Equity Afia healthcare clinic initiative funded to grow geographic access to outpatient healthcare. It has a goal of setting up at least 1 000 facilities across the East and Central Africa region over the next five years.

NMB made sustainable finance history when it issued the first social bond from an East African financial institution. The gender-empowering bond, which was heavily oversubscribed, raised USD 30 million against a target of USD 10 million. This Tanzanian instrument has since become the first-ever social bond to list on a Sub-Saharan African bond exchange.

In Zambia, Zanaco has embarked on a three-year Plant a Million Trees initiative that will raise awareness of Zambia’s pressing deforestation issue and meet important ESG targets.