The Spring bank holiday weekend meant a trip to Oxford to staff the 2014 Oxford Africa Conference. The 2-day event titled African Transformations was organised by Oxford’s two leading student-run Africa organisations: the Oxford Africa Society and the Oxford Business Network for Africa.
There was lots of interesting, direct and honest content and working with Gong’s financial services clients meant my ears pricked up for the ‘Investments in Actions: Private Equity Cases’ session with a discussion between members of CDC and The Abraaj Group, moderated by Private Equity Africa, Managing Editor, Gail Mwamba
There was a strong focus on the progress of African PE over the last decade, with discussion bouncing between the mass of opportunity and the overestimated risks. Yet the panel members were clear that one of the key constraints within African PE is finding superior talent, with David Easton, CDC, citing an important decision-making factor in his firm’s latest investment in the DRC as being its “good management”.
Talent, both at GP and portfolio company level, can be a major limiting factor for PE in Africa. Often not all the skills needed – financial acumen, management experience, African background and operational track record – can be found in one individual.
With such a positive view on other, more ‘obvious’ risks, both political and economic, it is the difficulty in pinning down elusive talent which is often underestimated.
By 2017, more than 3.6 billion people will be online, representing 48 percent of the world’s projected population.
Innovations, hatched in the minds of tech savvy innovators are now deployed by businesses as the marketing norm. But implementing a robust social media strategy demands not only preparation, but also constantly fresh and interesting content. It’s a long term relationship, not just a quick fling.
Knowing this, the time-poor private equity industry has been – in the main – slow to capitalize on social media’s potential within their online strategy. That is not to say there is no interest; a recent survey has shown that over a third of EMPEA members have corporate Twitter accounts. It’s just that few actually use them.
The following article outlines how a few select social media channels can be employed to maximize the effectiveness of brand and IR commitments.
Download the article here >>
Joining the African Venture Capital Association’s Board of Directors’ meeting, I sit awaiting my turn to present on the crucial role communications has played in supporting the Association in recent months.
I am privileged to a sneak preview of some ground breaking research, collated over several months. Given the need – which we hear reiterated over and over again in our work with all our African clients – for independent and well-researched data on the African markets, I think it is worth summarising here.
First, Cambridge Associates, in partnership with AVCA, has developed the first African PE Performance Benchmark, which serves to help investors assess and participate in private investment opportunities in Africa. The findings of the benchmark were wide-ranging, as illustrated by the resulting media coverage, but a key headline was that African private equity funds outperformed US venture capital over last decade. All good news for Africa.
The positive stories didn’t stop there: AVCA and Ernst & Young also announced their joint research on African private equity exits. Private equity is a clear winner; the research shows that African PE firms are not only making excellent headway with generating exits, they are making strong returns in the process – almost double that of the JSE All Share Index.
When the research later broke to the packed hall of 400+ delegates here in Cape Town, Twitter went wild. The appetite for research of this kind is clearly huge from industry and media alike, with most of the afternoon of day two spent facilitating journalist calls and appearances on CNBC. It will be interesting to follow the impact these regularly updated reports have on the industry in months and years to come.
Read more on AVCA’s conference from The Economist’s Boabab correspondent, here.