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Wounded CDC picks head for Kenya office


From left: M-KOPA Solar CEO Jesse Moore, GOGLA Programme Manage Drew Corbyn and CDC Group Environmental and Social Responsibility Manager Ian Brenkley during a workshop in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

UK investment fund CDC Group has beefed up its Kenya management team months after it emerged as the largest loser in the collapse of cement-maker ARM where it had put Sh14 billion.

The firm announced on Wednesday it had picked ex-Standard Chartered Bank executive Seema Dhanani as the new head for the Kenyan office.

The CDC Group poached Ms Dhanani from Mauritius Commercial Bank, where she was the chief representative officer for East and West Africa, with responsibility for the bank’s office in Kenya.

At the MCB, she was in charge of governance, reporting, compliance and strategic client and regulatory coverage in East and West Africa.

“I am delighted to join CDC at such an inflexion point for the organisation,” Ms Dhanani said in a statement.

“CDC’s commitment to ramp up the pace of its investments as part of the UK’s ambition to become the top G7 investor in Africa by 2022 creates an exciting set of opportunities and I’m looking forward to working with the team to spur the growth of East Africa’s most promising businesses.”

The fund earlier this year announced it intends to pump money into Kenyan firms in various sectors including infrastructure, construction and real estate and financial institutions.

The company, whose chief executive Nick O’Donohoe recently announced plans to invest up to $4.5 billion (Sh458.3 billion) across Africa including Nigeria over the next four years to boost ties with the continent, said on Monday it was keen on backing Kenyan firms with additional capital.

“We have got $268 million (about Sh27.2 billion) invested in Kenya, in 74 companies,” said CDC in response to the Business Daily queries earlier.

“In terms of sectors that we are targeting — CDC has a number of priority sectors including infrastructure; food and agriculture; construction and real estate; health and education; financial institutions and manufacturing.”

The firm’s investments in Kenya are held through private equity funds though it also injects capital directly.