CORRECTED-Kenyan private equity house Ascent raises $50 mln

Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:21am EDT

(Changes Tanzania to Ethiopia in last paragraph)

NAIROBI, July 23 (Reuters) - Ascent, a Kenyan private equity firm, has raised $50 million for investment in about a dozen fast-growing companies across the east Africa region, it said on Wednesday.

Private equity is still a relatively new development on Africa's financial landscape but it has been growing in recent years as investors chase higher returns from economies enjoying robust growth.

Ascent said the fund, known as Ascent Rift Valley Fund, is backed by private and institutional investors from Kenya and abroad, including Kenyan pension funds.

"This is the first time in the region that local pension funds have committed to invest in a private equity fund," David Owino, a partner at Ascent, said in the statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

The firm has offices in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by George Obulutsa and David Goodman)

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