The Carlyle Group Invests $40 Million in Nigeria’s Wakanow
The Carlyle Group, an American multinational private equity, alternative asset management and financial services corporation, has announced its investment of $40 million in Wakanow, an online travel agency focused on West and East Africa, with principal operations in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, Idris Mohammed said “Wakanow has experienced incredible growth since inception, disrupting the travel market and taking market share both online and offline.
He added, “We believe that this strong growth trajectory will continue as Wakanow benefits from an expanding middle class across the continent in addition to increasing internet penetration and mobile connectivity, which is driving increased online traffic.”
The investment adds to Carlyle’s experience in the online travel sector. The investment firm has funded companies such as C-trip, one of the major online travel agencies operating across China, as well as Latin American travel and tour operator, CVC Brasil and Vasco Turismo, one of the largest travel operations groups in Peru.
Founded in 1987 as an investment banking boutique, The Carlyle Group specialises in four key business areas- corporate private equity, real assets, global credit and investment solutions.
Wakanow, which was founded in 2008 by Obinna Ekezie, is a Nigerian web-based travel logistics company that has become Africa’s premier online travel booking service-company. The company’s purpose is to provide customers with a one-stop online booking portal for flights, hotels, holiday packages, and other travel services.
The travel agency was recognised in 2013 by the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the All-world Networks based in the United Kingdom, as one of the fastest growing online companies in Nigeria. However, it went through a financial crisis in January 2018, following an economic recession that ravaged the aviation sector in 2015 and through part of 2016.