Around the world we are confronted with a universal pandemic that does not discriminate. An unusual picture of global equality is emerging, engendered by the coronavirus’ brutal treatment of all humans no matter who they are. However, while countries across the globe implement similar measures to fight the virus, we must acknowledge the inequality between nations’ resources and abilities to overcome the impact of a pandemic. Social distancing is a privilege when compared to the reality of crowded residential areas or packed buses and trains, where people are forced to choose between working for a day’s wage or staying home without any income. Acknowledging this painful reality, we are confident in the contribution that our investments can make in these markets: now, and certainly also into the future.
We continue the process of making a fair assessment of the impact of corona on our portfolio companies, measures that need to be taken and potential funding required.
In the immediate term, investments offering basic or digital products are thriving. Our portfolio (www.goodwell.nl/portfolio/) companies are typically technology-enabled providers of essential goods and services, active in food and agriculture (Tomato Jos, East Africa Fruits), e-commerce and mobility/logistics (Copia, Sendy, Max.ng) and inclusive finance (MFS Africa, Paga, Nomanini, Musoni). Copia, a mobile commerce company, provides essential goods to low-income consumers in Kenya. In recent weeks, they have experienced an immense boost in sales and have shifted operations to run 24 hours a day to support the demand from over 180,000 consumers in rural areas. Max.ng, a delivery and motorbike ride-hailing company in Nigeria, has turned their full attention to delivery, in response to the government lockdown. They have partnered with local transport ministries in various states to donate and deliver soap, sanitizers and bags of rice to help individuals and families stay safe and healthy during this fight against Coronavirus.
As we anticipate the expected economic deceleration, our teams are well positioned to provide hands-on support, monitor and respond to the impact of the pandemic on our investments. Our existing pipeline continues to have exciting investment opportunities and gives us momentum to persist in raising capital for Sub-Saharan Africa. The corona crisis is helping us to rethink and create new ways of investor engagement:we are adjusting our investor due diligence and onboarding processes, facilitating virtual meetings with local teams and portfolio companies as well as smoothing the process of investor KYC and identification procedures digitally.