IFC invests $1.7 million into Ivorian artisans marketplace Anka (formerly Afrikea) for expansion


International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved a loan disbursement of $1.7 million into Anka (formerly Afrikrea), an Ivorian online platform for African fashion products such as clothing, clothing accessories, and artisanal products to help in its expansion.

Founded in 2016 and based in Abidjan, ANKA allows merchants from across Africa to reach buyers distributed across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, among others. The firm will use the investment to expand its operations and activities in Côte d’Ivoire and other IDA-eligible countries.

Before these, IFC considered investing up to EUR3 million in ANKA, under the IDA20 Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility. The funding will primarily be used to expand the Company’s operations in Cote d’Ivoire.

However, IFC as implementing entity of the IDA20 Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility has at this point provided $1.7 million equivalent as part of its support to IFC’s Africa Middle East Central Asia and Pakistan Venture Capital Platform.

Venture capital market for early-stage companies is limited, particularly in Francophone Africa. ANKA is one of the only brands doing C-Commerce from Africa to the rest of the world through an all-in-one platform. The blended finance co-investment will enable IFC to invest in the company and in turn help the company execute its scale up plans that are expected to have positive social and human capital effects by supporting job creation in Francophone Africa. The level of concessionality provided by the blended concessional finance co-investment is estimated to be 6.7% of the total project cost. The total cost of the project is US$3 million.

IFC had proposed an investment of up to US$3.4 million into ANKA, supported by the IDA20 Private Sector Window Blended Finance Facility but seems these was not possible at this point. In October 2022, ANKA secured €5.4 million in a pre-Series A financing, with advisory services and capacity strengthening for ANKA corporate governance from the IFC.

The firm used the capital to expand its mobile e-commerce SaaS platform to allow its retailers to use the platform from anywhere in the world, invest in product development, hire additional remote developers and increase talent acquisition across the company’s product, sales, and finance teams.

Alibaba’s Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai, BESTSELLER Foundation, VestedWorld, Enigmo, Groupe Prunay, and Rising Tide Africa are all part of the new investment. They join existing investors SAVIU Ventures, Lofty Inc, Kepple Africa, Consonance, id4 Ventures, and Thierry Petit, who are also investing in the round.

Today’s announcement takes the company’s total investment since its inception by Moulaye Taboure and Kadry Diallo in 2016 to US$9.8 million.

ANKA’s notable existing shareholders include Proparco, Saviu Ventures Limited, Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P), BESTSELLER Foundation, and the Joe & Clara Tsai Foundation (Bluepool).