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Carlyle Group Injects $40m into Wakanow

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The sum of $40 million has been injected into one of the leading online travel agencies based in Nigeria, Wakanow.com Limited.

The amount is aimed at making the firm take a leading role in the sector, which boasts of other strong competitors.

This investment adds to Carlyle’s experience in the online travel sector, where it has invested in companies such as C-trip, one of the major online travel agencies operating across China, the Latin American travel and tour operator CVC Brasil, and Vasco Turismo, one of the largest travel operations groups in Peru.

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Managing Director of Carlyle Group, Mr Idris Mohammed, stated that, “Wakanow has experienced incredible growth since inception, disrupting the travel market and taking online and offline market share.

“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.

“We look forward to working with Wakanow’s management team to help them deliver on their vision for growth and expansion.”

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Also speaking, Chief Investment Officer of Platform Capital, one of Wakanow’s lead investors, Mr Mayowa Ayodele, said, “We are happy to partner with Carlyle and look forward to working with them to strengthen Wakanow’s market position, accelerate innovation, deepen its systems and processes to realise the vision of a world class online travel agency with African roots.”

Founded in 2009 in Nigeria, Wakanow is one of West Africa’s largest full-service online travel companies, providing its customers with a one-stop online booking portal for flights, hotels, holiday packages, and other travel services and ancillaries.

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Complementing their online offering, Wakanow also operates a network of traditional brick-and mortar travel centres and has operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, the United Arab Emirate (UAE) and the United Kingdom.

The firm enjoys strong brand recognition and a scale advantages in its local markets. Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wakanow, Mr Obinna Ekezie, commented that, “We are excited to partner with Carlyle as we continue to grow and expand in Africa and beyond. Carlyle’s global footprint and scale, as well as its extensive experience and network in the online travel sector will help us to further develop our offerings and broaden our customer base.”

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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