FMO, Norfund and Rabobank form Arise

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FMO, Rabobank and Norfund, the Norwegian investment fund for developing countries, have agreed to pool their stakes in a number of financial service providers in Sub-Saharan Africa into a new joint venture - Arise. Banco Montepio is also expected to join the partnership when it becomes operational on 1 January 2017.

Arise will start with assets totaling $660 million and is forecast to grow to $1 billion in the next five years. According to Rabobank the new entity is not anticipated to attract any extra funding, besides the capital already committed by the three partners.

Arise will take and manage minority stakes in African finance service providers (FSPs). The goal is to build stable FSPs that will serve retail, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the rural sector, and clients who have not previously had access to financial services.

The joint venture is still subject to regulatory approvals being obtained, both at shareholder and the various underlying investee levels.