InfraCo Africa invests in safe, affordable passenger ferries
22 Mar 2022

Kisumu, Kenya: InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has signed a Shareholders’ Agreement with Globology Ltd, committing US$3.8m through its dedicated investment arm, to support the expansion of the company’s Waterbus passenger transport operations on Lake Victoria.

Waterbusis the first passenger-focused service to deliver scheduled ferry routes on the Lake, currently operating two 132-seater and one 80 seater safe, modern catamaran vessels for passengers and light cargo on two Kenyan routes. The company currently has one further ferry under construction.

InfraCo Africa’s investment will support the construction of five new fifth-generation ferries over the next 24- 36 months and will enable the company to finance upgrades to its existing boatyard located in Kisumu, Kenya. The new vessels will operate on additional routes in Kenya and on new routes in Tanzania and Uganda.

Shell Foundation, the UK-registered charity that works to enhance access to sustainable energy and transport for low-income communities, has provided Waterbus with a grant of US$800,000 to pilot retrofitting of a solar boost system to two of its vessels. If the expected reduction in fuel consumption of around 15% is achieved, solar boost systems will be fitted to the wider Waterbus fleet.

Globology Ltd Founder, Malcolm Ormiston, said “We are excited to have the opportunity to grow the reach of the WaterBus service and expand our journey to save lives and facilitate development of Africa’s transportation-challenged communities. InfraCo Africa are an exciting partner to work with in expanding the water transport infrastructure sector that’s typically been poorly served by development and investment groups in the region.”

Access to transport between Lake Victoria’s mainland and island communities is limited, with passengers largely reliant upon open wooden canoes with polluting two-stroke petrol outboard motors to reach key services and to transport their produce to markets. These unscheduled canoes are inherently unsafe, slow and lack shelter, so passengers are exposed to the elements and goods and fresh produce are vulnerable to spoilage. Violent, fast-moving storms can capsize open canoes which have few, if any, safety measures in place for their passengers. Several thousand people die
every year on Lake Victoria alone.

Bertrand Ketchassi, Investment Manager at InfraCo Africa said: “We are excited to work with Globology Ltd to grow its Waterbus marine transport offering on Lake Victoria. Together we will provide people with safe, reliable access to mainland and island markets and essential services, and we anticipate that developing these transport routes will boost the wider regional economy.” He continued, “We are particularly interested in the company’s plans, supported by grant funding from the Shell Foundation, to further reduce journey emissions by piloting the use of solar-powered propulsion on its vessels. InfraCo Africa brings marine transport expertise to the project from our Kalangala Infrastructure Services and East Africa Marine Transport initiatives elsewhere on the Lake, and we hope that these will provide opportunities for shared learning going forward.”

Wanji Nganga, Regional Manager – East Africa at Shell Foundation said: “Expanding affordable and reliable access to cleaner mobility solutions for goods and people is critical to socio-economic InfraCo Africa is supported by development for low-income populations. We have supported Waterbus since since 2016 to serve isolated communities on Lake Victoria with a safer, more reliable, sustainable service.

We are pleased to see the investment from InfraCo Africa, which is testament to the business model and technologies’ viability to scale and reach thousands more customers, and also very proud to continue supporting the vessels’ research and development with this new grant agreement.” By mobilising investment to enable Waterbus to scale it’s offering, it is anticipated that the company will be well positioned to attract private sector investment and to use internal revenues to further scale its operations in the future.

Notes to editors
• Lake Victoria basin is home to approximately 40 million people across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

• The new vessels will support SDG 9 – the development of regional infrastructure, to support trade
enablement and human well-being.

• InfraCo Africa brings expertise to the project derived from its Kalangala Infrastructure Services and
East Africa Marine Transport projects.

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is an innovative infrastructure project developer and investor which mobilises private investment in sustainable and inclusive infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia. PIDG investments promote socio-economic development within a just transition to net zero emissions, combat poverty and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity, and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 171 infrastructure projects to financial close which provided an estimated 217 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany and the IFC

InfraCo Africa: InfraCo Africa is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) and seeks to alleviate poverty by mobilising investment into sub-Saharan infrastructure projects. It does this by investing directly into early-stage projects or by funding experienced teams to provide project development leadership.

Through its investments arm, InfraCo Africa can also provide equity to close a financing gap and start construction or fund innovative solutions that need support to scale-up, to pilot new products or enter new markets. InfraCo Africa is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom (through FCDO), the Netherlands (through DGIS) and Switzerland (through SECO). To find out more visit:

Globology Ltd: Globology is on a mission to provide safe and sustainable water transportation for Africa’s water-isolated communities. The company has transformed passenger transportation around Lake Victoria by offering safe, fast, and comfortable journeys on insured services using modern and environmentally friendly catamaran ferries, designed and built in Kenya.

The company’s Waterbus ferries have transported 2.5 million passengers operating between islands and key road connections and currently serves hundreds of thousands of travellers each year. To find out more visit:

Shell Foundation: Shell Foundation (SF) is a UK-registered charity established in 2000 that creates and scales business solutions to enhance access to sustainable energy and transport for low-income communities in Africa and India. To date SF’s work has improved the livelihoods of more than 215m people. Find out more at