1. Helios Investment Partners written submission provides answers to the following terms of references:


  1. Helios Investment Partners is the largest Africa-focused private equity firm and has been investing across Africa for nearly two decades. Our investments contribute to sustainable job creation by supporting the growth of existing companies and developing new businesses and industries, across sustainable themes such as financial inclusion, digital connectivity and clean energy. As of today, we invested in over 30 companies and created over 10,000 jobs across Africa since our first investment in 2004. Based in London with offices in Paris, Lagos and Nairobi, we are the largest emerging market B-Corp certified investor. The B Corp status recognises the firm’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices.


  1. We are supported by several investors including development finance institutions such as BII, which play a vital role in our market. Indeed, while there are many investment opportunities with high development impact in Africa, it remains difficult to attract foreign capital to the region, given the perceived high risk. This is particularly the case during global economic downturns such as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Today we observe a similar situation to 2008, where commercial investors are reluctant to invest on the continent, given the global uncertainty. In addition, African governments are dealing with a number of economic headwinds post-pandemic, including persistent twin fiscal and external deficits, dwindling foreign exchange reserves, as well as high external debt level and associated debt servicing cost. This is further aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine war which has pushed up prices for food and energy, two items that represent a significant percentage of households expenditures. As a result, African governments already dealing with stretched balance sheets, are now left with even less resources to support their economy. Hence, having foreign private capital invested in these markets is critical. Yet, Africa is underinvested, the region represents only 5% of global foreign direct investment, compared to 8% for Latin America and 39% for Asia (Unctad, 2022).


  1. BII however has remained a steadfast partner and has always stepped in during periods of scarce capital on the continent. It is worth highlighting that BII’s funding has a catalytic effect. Indeed, for every dollar the institution has invested in our funds, we have matched it by a 7:1 ratio. This would not have happened without BII’s initial funding. In addition, investors and populations recognize the important role BII plays in the economy of Africa through the various investments Helios has executed. BII has invested in three of our funds, and all our investments within these funds are aligned with the venerable British institution’s main themes: – (1) infrastructure and climate, (2) financial services, (3) construction and real estate, (4) education, (5) food and agriculture, (6) health, (7) manufacturing, (8) technology and telecoms. Examples of investments we made thanks to BII’s support are provide below:


  1. Financial inclusion (financial services):



  1. Interswitch (Fund II):


  1. In Nigeria, Africa’s largest consumer market, over 50% of the population remains unbanked or underbanked. To help change this, Helios invested in 2011, in Interswitch, Nigeria’s leading electronic payment processing business. Since our investment, Helios has supported Interswitch to launch several new business lines that actively encourage and promote financial inclusion in Nigeria and in new markets such as Uganda and Kenya. These include:


  1. Today, Interswitch processes over 3 billion electronic transactions per year, provides over $130 million of micro loans and has more than 27,000 agents in its network.


  1. Thunes (Fund IV):


  1. In June 2020, Helios invested in Thunes, a market leading payments network that provide interconnectivity between payment companies and methods across emerging markets, in order to facilitate cross-border payments. Thunes currently operates across more than 80 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The company enables faster, cheaper, and more transparent cross-border payments into and out of emerging markets. This is particularly relevant for Africa given the significant amount of remittances the continent receives each year from individuals working abroad. These remittance flows are then reinjected into key sectors such as healthcare and education.


  1. In addition, Thunes has committed to playing a role in the regenerative efforts of the planet. In partnership with Handprint, Thunes is engaging in continued reforestation efforts. The first trees planted by Thunes are mangrove trees in Sumatra, Indonesia, where more than 89,000 trees have been planted and 17,406 tCO2e has been absorbed.


  1. In 2022, Thunes joined the UN Global Compact and received an EcoVadis Silver Medal to reflect the strength of their ESG management system and processes. EcoVadis is a third-party sustainability rating provider, which conducts ESG assessments on over 100,000 companies worldwide, including 1,500 in Africa.


  1. Digital connectivity (technology and telecoms):


  1. Helios Towers (Fund II):


  1. Helios Towers was established by Helios Investment Partners in 2009 at the tail end of the global economic recession when there was a dearth of capital. BII funding helped us start the new venture together with $350 million raised from private investors. This is an example where BII’s capital was critical in a counter cyclical environment.  Helios Towers builds and maintains telecommunications towers and lease space on those towers to wireless telecommunications service providers across Africa. The company helps reduce the number of telecom towers per mobile operators thanks to co-locations, therefore reducing the negative environmental impact. Helios towers provides telecommunications infrastructure to companies that serve more than 109 million people and has employed more than 400 highly skilled managers and technical engineers across the continent. In October 2019, Helios Towers went public on the London Stock Exchange, raising $362 million, investors included UK pension funds. The business has more than 1,181 hybrid/solar sites and plans to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2040. Helios Towers achieved an EcoVadis Gold Medal in 2022.


  1. IXAfrica (Fund IV):


  1. Founded in 2021, IXAfrica is a leading developer and operator of hyperscale-ready data centres in Kenya. IXAfrica team is aiming for high levels of sustainability performance and minimal negative impacts to not only limit operational costs but to attract hyper-scale customers, who are increasingly making a range of sustainable commitments such as net zero carbon emissions.   IXAfrica will be the first in East Africa to offer autonomous Indirect Adiabatic Cooling (IAC) and market leading cooling technology that allows for a compact footprint with low energy consumption. It will also use solar energy to increase its share of renewable energy. An estimated 900 million people in Africa are not connected to the internet and only 0.4% of the African population has a fixed-broadband subscription, with most internet users relying on mobile broadband. Access to digital infrastructure and technologies unlocks new pathways for rapid economic growth innovation, job creation and access to new services that would not be available without data centres such as IXAfrica.


  1. Healthcare:


  1. T2S Group (Fund IV):


  1. In December 2021, Helios acquired a stake in T2S group, which comprises four entities:


  1. T2S Group is considered a pioneer in Moroccan MedTech, having introduced state-of-the-art MedTech products that are helping to advance certain medical practices in the country. As such, they play an important leadership role in supporting the strong growth and development of the Moroccan healthcare market fuelled by the introduction of a universal social security plan and expanding public and private healthcare infrastructure. Through its partnerships with leading global medical equipment manufacturers, T2S Group has, and will continue to have, a direct impact on the quality of the healthcare offering in Morocco and more widely in Francophone Africa. Through local financing options, T2S Group will be able to grow and develop public sector healthcare with best-in-class equipment, infrastructure, and know-how. Importantly, the company has cemented its reputation as the partner of choice to its customers by providing reliable and unique after sales and maintenance support services. This is a critical service, as only a few hours of downtime for a scanner or MRI can not only be very costly but extremely disruptive and negatively impact patients’ lives.


  1. Food and agriculture


  1. BIM Morocco (Fund IV):


  1. Established in 2009, BIM Morocco has grown into the largest discount grocery retailer in Morocco with over 550 stores across the country and with over 3,300 employees. The company provides consumers with essential products at competitive prices, leveraging its well known, high-quality “BIM” branded private label offering, as well as its strong logistics platform. Helios invested in BIM in May 2021 and during the ESG due diligence, Helios identified the need for BIM to establish an environmental and social management system, health and safety management system and an employee manual to comply with BII’s Responsible Investing Policy and the IFC Performance Standards. These requirements were included in the shareholders agreement. And since acquisition, BIM has been in the process of developing and implementing these management systems with support from Helios and IBIS consulting, an advisor suggested by BII. This is an example of how BII’s requirements are actively improving the environmental and social performance of companies in Africa and how BII’s relationship with advisors helps asset managers like Helios to implement those requirements. In addition, since Helios’ investment, BIM signed a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Morocco to increase its local sourcing and enlarge its range of private labels "Made In Morocco". By 2025, the company ambition is to increase the share of its private label products “Made in Morocco” to 80% for agri-food products and 90% for textile products, which will support local businesses and farmers in Morocco.



  1. Climate Investing:


  1. BII has been an active supporter of climate investing. The institution has worked closely with our investment team to help us develop and refine our climate investment strategy, specifically in relation to adaptation assessment and monitoring. In addition, our climate team was recently invited to participate in BII’s ARIC (Adaptation & Resilience Investors Collaborative) stakeholder workshop on the development of investor relevant adaptation and resilience metrics. This demonstrates how BII is bringing private market investors together to develop market leading approaches to assess and measure adaptation and resilience, which is an area where there is currently little to no industry guidance.



  1. BII is a very important institution for the British government and continent of Africa. The institution’s funding focuses not just on returns but also on impact and sustainability, ensuring its managers such as Helios incorporate these themes into their investment thesis – people, profit and planet. BII is honouring the UK’s international commitments and is taking actions to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which are focused on ending chronic poverty in all parts of the world. Creating jobs in Africa contributes to alleviating poverty, reducing conflicts, and achieving economic growth. BII has been at the forefront of supporting companies in Africa for the last 70 years, tackling market failures that that are holding back the development of the continent, investing in areas such as access to medicines, power transmission and distribution, economic empowerment for women. BII continues to find solutions to mobilise more capital to meet the needs of developing countries. BII remains one of the UK government's most important soft power assets. The institution enables people to work towards their own prosperity and helps secure peace, security and good governance: the building blocks of stable and successful societies.