Last Thursday (June 3, 2010), one of our new AfricaSIF team members, Ike Nwagbara (Masters in Finance from the London Business School), had the opportunity to attend a London-based event on private equity in Africa. Here is a summary of his experience:

“ This was an exciting event. Speakers and panelists, included:

  •  Chris West, Director, Shell Foundation
  • Thomas Ferede, Investment Professional, DPI
  • Kem Ihenacho, Partner, Clifford Chance
  • Paresh Shah, Managing Director, Stargate Capital
  • Moderator- Luca Del Conte, Executive Director, MediCapital Bank

The message delivered during the conference was that although deal pace slowed significantly in 2009, things are starting to pick up, investors remain cautious.  More PE firms are looking to invest in Africa. New funds have been successfully raised.

Chris West and the Shell Foundation seemed to steal the show. Shell Foundation and its Growth Finance initiative finance businesses that seat between Micro finance and Private equity in terms of deal size. These businesses find it difficult to get bank financing as they generally have low collateral and/or low entrepreneurial experience. The exciting thing though is the foundation’s model to addressing this issue. They work with their beneficiaries to draw up detailed business plans, incorporating long term views, before providing loan financing. This really is sustainable investing!”

Looking forward to your comments.