In a recent press release, Heva Fund announced the signing of a credit investment agreement with French Development Agency (AfD) to advance financial support and technical assistance for the creative industry in Kenya and the wider East African region in a project worth KES 90 Million (US$ 900,000) expected to run till 2022.
Heva Fund is the most visible African based fund to invest in the transformative creative economy sector within the East African region has invested in more than 20 creative businesses within the fashion, digital content, crafts, and decor value chains niche.
This signifies a new dawn to the creative economy in the region which has been lagging in global comparison. Africa’s input to the world export of cultural goods amounts to less than 1%. This new development will help spur the growth of the industry. And this was echoed by Heva Fund’s Finance and Investment Manager Maureen Njuguna on her speech during the Heva – AFD contract signing event.
“We are aiming at driving KES 500 million in growth investments over the next few years to businesses in the following value chains: live music and events; fashion/apparel manufacturing and retail; film, television, and audio-visual content; and gaming and entertainment.” She also added, “This fund will invest in businesses with at least 5 permanent members of staff, and annual revenues not exceeding KES 50 million, which are looking to increase production capacity, enter new markets and deepen product ranges with a focus on promoting cross-border trade in the East African region.”
Africa’s creative economy has the potential to trigger a value chain between artists, entrepreneurs, distributors and related services across various sectors and provide jobs to the youth and boost tourism but its presence in the global creative economy has been stagnated by its limited government support, lack of intellectual property knowledge, obsolete policies and regulations, underinvestment in technology and infrastructure as well as less prioritization in the arts-related education among other reasons. Whereas there is clearly no shortage of talent in the continent the region is yet to fully profit from it.
While in the past, there has been limited investment by development partners within and outside the continent, the new focus by AFD will contribute towards positioning the region as a rich source of creatives to the world. During the signing event, AFD’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Rémy Rioux acknowledged that it was AFD’s first investment in the creative sector in Africa and also recognized Heva’s work in helping producers of cultural goods and services to build high-value and profitable businesses in the region.
“We support innovation and start-ups, providing mechanisms for financing creative and cultural entrepreneurship in East Africa to foster job creation in this sector.” Said Mr. Rémy Rioux Chief Executive Officer, AFD.
During the signing event, Heva managing partner George Gachara emphasized the tremendous opportunity that the creative industry presents…
“To contribute to the much-needed job creation for young people, export our unique cultural identity into the global marketplace, and position Kenya as a global destination for tourism, the arts, and entertainment.”
He also highlighted Heva’s commitment to offering tailor-made, innovative financial and business support solutions to these worthy ventures.