Africa is ready for private equity, says EMPEA/FT summit

Government leaders, regulators and decision-makers across Africa recognize the success of private equity in growing companies, creating jobs and developing infrastructure. They are actively considering ways of encouraging flows of capital, both international and domestic, into private equity. This is one of the messages from the 3rd annual “Private Equity in Africa Leadership” Summit, co-hosted by the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (www.empea.net) and the Financial Times publication, “This is Africa” (www.thisisafricaonline.com).

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Governor of Lagos State, was one of the key speakers and told the conference: “Returns are attractive, the possibilities are endless and we are ready”. Other speakers included Tendai Biti, Minister of Finance, Zimbabwe; pensions representatives from Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, and Nigeria; regulators from South Africa and Brazil, as well as leading African fund managers and global institutional investors. There were over 300 delegates from 30 countries.

Sarah Alexander, President and CEO of EMPEA said: “It’s clear from our Private Equity in Africa Leadership Summit that investors are clamoring for information and seeking a better understanding of the opportunities in the continent. It is also promising that African leaders and regulators are beginning to recognize the long-term economic impact of private equity and are encouraging investment.

“EMPEA will continue to play a key role in working with government and industry leaders, regulators and investors to facilitate a better understanding of the asset class and the opportunities in Africa.”

The 19 October conference in London had standing room-only attendance and very interactive question and answer sessions.

EMPEA announces the appointment of Okechukwu (“Okey”) Enelamah, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Lagos-based private equity firm African Capital Alliance (ACA), to its Board of Directors. This further deepens the representation of African private equity investors among the industry body’s global leadership. EMPEA Chairman Jeffrey Leonard commented: “Africa plays a big part in the emerging market private equity story, and we are fortunate that such an experienced and committed individual will help EMPEA further serve the needs of our growing and dynamic member community.” Okey Enelamah responded to the news, “I am honoured to be joining a Board of such dedicated industry leaders and I look forward to supporting EMPEA in its mission to further promote private equity investment in the Africa region in particular.”

The Private Equity in Africa Leadership Summit in London also saw EMPEA play host to its second Africa Council meeting. This draws together some of the top luminaries in private equity investment into Africa: Runa Alam – Development Partners International (DPI), Yvonne Bakkum – FMO, J. Kofi Bucknor – Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management, Ngalaah Chuphi – Ethos Private Equity, David Creighton – Cordiant Capital, Thierry Dalais – Metier/Lereko Metier, Hurley Doddy – Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), Hisham El-Khazindar – Citadel Capital, Roderick Evison – CDC Group plc, J-P Fourie – South African Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (SAVCA), Murray Grant – Actis, Richard Kramer – African Capital Alliance (ACA), Gloria Mamba – Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), Henry Obi – Helios Investment Partners, Ziad Oueslati – Tuninvest-Africinvest Group, Soula Proxenos – International Housing Solutions, Martin Poulsen – African Development Bank, Davinder Sikand – Aureos Capital, Graham Thomas – Standard Bank, Paul E. Tierney – Development Capital LLC and David Wilton – International Finance Corporation.

EMPEA is an independent, global industry association that works to catalyze private equity and venture capital investment in the emerging markets of Africa, Asia, Central/Eastern Europe and Russia/CIS, Latin America, and the Middle East. EMPEA’s 300 members represent a broad array of private equity fund managers, institutional investors, service providers, and other key stakeholders in the industry, representing nearly 60 countries and over US$1 trillion in assets under management.

Echoing some of the themes discussed at that meeting, Sarah Alexander, President and CEO of EMPEA, can be viewed on CNBC Africa/ABN Digital commenting on why the “time is now for Africa,” here.

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