Archive for the 'Sierra Leone' Category

Jacana merges with InReturn Capital, launches $75m private equity fund for SMEs

Entrepreneurs running small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in West and East Africa stand to benefit from a new $75 million private equity fund. The announcement follows the news on 29 Jan that two long-term partners are merging.
InReturn Capital ( is a private-equity company based in Nairobi (Kenya) that invests in SMEs across East Africa, and it plans to close a legal merger in the first quarter of 2013 with London (UK)-based Jacana Partners (, a private equity specialist in SME investments, which has been building capacity in private equity managers in Africa.
The new partnership will offer a significant boost for East African entrepreneurs seeking value-add expertise and growth capital. InReturn was investing in transaction size of $0.5m-$1.3m and the partnership with Jacana will mean increased access to private equity investment, dedicated investment teams on-the-ground coupled with international private equity expertise and larger deal sizes of between $1m-$5m.
InReturn has rebranded as Jacana Partners. The two firms have been working together for 3 years. Jacana’s West African operations (previously Fidelity Capital Partners) rebranded in August 2012. This creates a leading pan-African SME private equity firm with pan-African coverage which will manage the new $75m SME fund expected to close later this year.
Jacana currently operates in 6 markets (Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda) and intends to move into 2 new countries with the new fund, possibly Ethiopia, Nigeria and/or Francophone West Africa. It is the only pan-African private equity company with a permanent commitment to the SME sector.
Jacana has invested over $20m to date in 20 portfolio companies employing over 1,300 people. In East Africa, 5 investments have been made to date in a stone quarry, an eye care centre, a supplier of tarpaulins to the relief sector, a serviced office provider and a logistics company and several other transactions are contemplated in the next few months.
Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya commented in a Jacana press release: “East Africa is undergoing a period of rapid economic growth largely fuelled by the expansion of our small-to-medium sized enterprises – key generators of job creation and GDP growth. The merger being rolled out today brings scale to the financing of SMEs which will boost their contribution to East Africa’s economic growth. It is my expectation that we shall see more similar initiatives to scale up financing to SMEs that lie at the heart of development blueprints for governments in the region.’’

Passionate about Africa’s entrepreneurs

Getting closer: Ezra Musoke (left) and Anthony Gichini (right) of InReturn Capital flank Simon Merchant CEO of Jacana Partners.

Anthony Gichini, Partner at InReturn Capital said: “The merger of InReturn Capital with Jacana Partners represents a big step forward in private equity investment for SMEs in East Africa. Jacana’s unique model combines international private equity experts with highly-experienced local teams, meaning our entrepreneurs benefit from strategic advice from international business experts as well as dedicated African investment managers on-the-ground who can add-value and provide hands-on management support. This combination is our winning formula which helps us build strong businesses and deliver superior returns.”
Simon Merchant, CEO of Jacana says: “Jacana Partners is a pan-African private equity firm that invests in entrepreneurs, builds successful SMEs and delivers sustainable financial and social returns. We do this because we are passionate about entrepreneurs as the key drivers of job creation and long-term economic development in Africa. Jacana is uniquely structured to overcome the challenges of private equity investing in SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Combining internationally experienced private equity veterans with highly skilled teams on-the-ground, Jacana has the experience, knowledge and resources to structure great deals, grow sustainable businesses and deliver superior returns.
“By merging our African and European operations, we are consolidating our business into a single fund manager, operating under the Jacana brand. As well as investing the remaining capital from our existing funds, the new Jacana will deploy a new $75m SME fund that we are currently in the processing of raising from international investors.
“The new fund will allow us to significantly increase the scale and geographic reach of our operations and will be invested in SMEs in up to 8 countries in East and West Africa. We firmly believe that a unified Jacana operating under the unique Jacana identity is the optimal platform upon which we can fulfill our mission of building the best SME private equity team in Africa, creating sustainable jobs and supporting long-term economic growth.”

World Bank says 4.8% growth for sub-Saharan Africa in 2012, cuts earlier forecast

The World Bank has cut its growth forecast for sub-Saharan Africa. Earlier in the year it forecast 5.2% growth overall for SSA economies in 2012, but yesterday (4 Oct) it cut this to 4.8%. World Bank said in its bi-annual Africa’s Pulse report that Africa is still vulnerable to a fragile global economy and a slowdown in China, although high commodity prices and an increase in exports from countries that have made mineral discoveries are likely to underpin growth for the rest of 2012.

Africa achieved 4.9% growth in 2011. According to the study, excluding South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, growth is likely to hit 6% in 2012. Strong performers are expected to include countries such as Mozambique, home to some of the world’s biggest untapped natural gas reserves, and Sierra Leone which has started exporting iron ore, according to a story on Reuters. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is projected to rise to $48.7 billion by 2014 from $31bn in 2012, as investor interest in Africa soars. African exports rebounded in the first quarter of 2012, growing at an annual pace of 32%, up from the -11% pace recorded in the last quarter of 2011.

World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, said in a press release: “A third of African countries will grow at or above 6%, with some of the fastest growing ones buoyed by new mineral exports and by factors such as the return to peace in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as strong growth in countries such as Ethiopia. An important indicator of how Africa is on the move is that investor interest in the region remains strong.. despite difficult global conditions.”

Most of SSA “middle income” by 2025
The majority of sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 countries could also achieve middle-income status by 2025 though their dependency on natural resources is likely to continue in the medium term, it added. Shantayanan Devarajan, the World Bank’s chief Africa economist, said that this highlights the need for governments to spend their resource wealth wisely and focus on public investment: “Resource-rich African countries have to make the conscious choice to invest in better health, education and jobs, and less poverty for their people because it will not happen automatically when countries strike it rich,” he said.

Diop said there was an opportunity for “strengthening economic transparency and financial controls around the new discoveries, to leverage their full potential through development policies that increase economic growth, create jobs, reduce poverty, and improve health and education especially for young people and future generations, while balancing the immediate needs.”

The World Bank said that after 10 years of economic advancement, 22 of Africa’s 48 countries have officially achieved middle-income status and another 10 could reach middle-income status by 2025 if current growth trends continue. It warned that recent soaring prices for wheat and corn were a concern, after the worst U.S. drought in 50 years. Africa’s Sahel region is already suffering from higher food prices, high rates of malnutrition and recurring crisis and insecurity. Furthermore, swarms of desert locusts and the ongoing conflict in The Sahel also undermine the region’s food security, including Mali and Niger.

Development gains – poverty and child mortality down
Child mortality has also been declining. Between 2005 and 2008, for the first time the absolute number of people living on $1.25 a day fell, as poverty rates on the continent have been falling faster than one percentage point a year. With fast population growth Africa is urbanizing rapidly and 41% of Africans live in cities, with an additional 1% every 2 years. By 2033, Africa – like the rest of the world – will be a majority urban continent. The bank says this has deep implications for social and economic opportunities as urbanization and development go together and it claims that no country has ever reached high income with low urbanization.

Nigerian Stock Exchange seeks $33 mln for new software and Sierra Leone bourse

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE – on 9 November announced that it is seeking some N5 billion (US$33 million) in capital for its fifth software upgrade and also to help finance the Sierra Leone stock exchange.
NSE Director General Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke reportedly told local media that the exchange’s software has been upgraded four times, with the next in 2010, at a likely cost of 16 mln-20 mln euros ($24 mln-$30 mln). She added that the London Stock Exchange had reportedly spent 30 mln euro on its software, and talks continue on how the LSE could help in Nigeria.
Apparently donors gave grants to Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to upgrade their stockmarkets, but believe that Nigeria is too rich to need this.
The Sierra Leone stock exchange was launched by Sierra Leone President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on 17 July 2009, after being inaugurated in 2007. According to Nigerian media, the NSE launched the Sierra Leone exchange free of charge and now seeks financing for electronic trading there. The Sierra Leone exchange is under the wing of the central Bank of Sierra Leone ( Okereke-Onyiuke said the NSE assisted Ghana previously and plans to help Liberia open a stock market.
According to other reports, the NSE earlier this year cut its holdings in the Central Securities Clearing System Ltd ( from 100% to 30%, after a private placement of the shares.
The CSCS is the clearing house and central securities depository of the Nigerian stock market. It includes an integrated central securities depository (CSD) offering clearing (electronic book-entry transfer of shares from seller to buyer) and settlement (payment from buyer to seller) for all NSE transactions. All securities listed for trading on the NSE must have their certificates deposited in CSCS before transactions can take place. The CSCS was incorporated in July 1992 and started operating in April 1997.
She is reported to have told the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets: “We had to do this because our shareholders wanted to have better stake in the company, and again it gives room for proper corporate governance and a sense of belonging to all our stakeholders.”