KENYA (Reuters)– Africa-focussed private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in Kenyan restaurant chain Artcaffe Group, the latest sign of growing international private equity investor interest in East Africa. 

The move comes after ECP’s stake sale last year in Kenyan casual dining and coffee chain Java House, which also has operations in Uganda and Rwanda. 

ECP sold Java House, the largest coffee shop chain in East Africa, to buyout group Abraaj. 

“There is immense opportunity in eastern Africa for casual dining concepts. Alongside population growth and increased urbanization, demand for international cuisine and casual, high-quality dining experiences is rising,” ECP said in a statement. 

The firm did not say how much it would pay for the “substantial majority” stake in Artcaffe, which runs 26 outlets in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, as well as a bakery, kitchen, and logistics centre that supplies its restaurants. 

A city of more than four million people, Nairobi is home to a growing middle class and large expatriate population that has piqued the interest of regional investors and global brands such as Yum Brands Inc’s KFC and Pizza Hut.