In their first deal, Nairobi-based Ascent Capital will invest USD2.5m from their Ascent Rift Valley Fund (ARVF), in Medpharm Holdings Africa, a holding firm for medical diagnostic laboratories that operates International Clinical Laboratories in Ethiopia. Owner and founder Tamrat Bekele noted that a side effect from Ethiopia’s expanding middle class was also a rising incidence of non-communicable diseases like high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.
In their press release, Ascent state that their investment ‘will be used to create Ethiopia’s first world-class, private sector, pathology department and increase the range of tests available.’ According to Ascent partner Guy Brennan: ‘This department will be a game changer in the area of cancer diagnosis in Ethiopia and beyond.’ Ascent’s funding will also help the company expand through the East African Community, helped by the fact that Ethiopian Airlines’ regional network allows samples to be flown to Addis.
In what may be a combination of teething problems in the fund’s first deal and Ethiopia’s specific challenges, this investment has taken quite some time to conclude. Ascent will have to speed up the process to fully deploy the USD50m already raised, let alone the additional USD10m they are seeking from investors. Source: Africa Assets