Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in gender lens investing, a strong indication that the financial sector is working to balance a legacy of lopsided investments. Finnfund, a Finnish development financier and impact investor, has since April 2019 invested over €121m in companies that promote women’s empowerment in developing countries. “Investing in gender equality is important because globally, there are major differences in the status of men and women and their opportunities to participate. Finnfund assesses each of its investments before making a decision, taking into account whether the investment can be expected to promote gender equality,” says Ulla Huotari, Investment Manager at Finnfund.
The “narrative” around Financial Technology (fintech) in Africa is changing. Five years ago, discussion around fintech focused on the ecosystems; supporting start-ups in Cape Town, Nairobi and Lagos and elsewhere; the tech incubators; the number of fintechs (perhaps 500 by one count), and the number of African fintechs admitted to the prestigious Y-Combinator (or Y-C). Key players were a range of early-stage investors focusing on Seed rounds or Series A, including 12-J funds in South Africa, and a dozen or so VC-funds across the continent supported by development banks and some private, capital.
COVID-19 turned 2020 in a tough year for most investors – especially those in emerging markets like Africa. Not only is Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy expected to post its first recession in 25 years, the World Bank also warns between 13 and 50 million people in the region could fall into extreme poverty due to the pandemic.
Ali Khalpey, CEO, EFG Hermes Frontier tells Africa Global Funds about the firm’s brokerage services in Africa and more
Africa Global Funds’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Jean Claude Permal, Executive Director and Chief Operation Officer (up) and Husayn Sassa, Head of Fund Administration & Investor Services (down) at AXIS to discuss trends in the fund administration industry and more.
Despite the projected 3% contraction in Africa’s GDP in 2020 (IMF) followed by modest recovery next year, there remain unmatched investment returns on the continent. However, many investors continue to struggle with finding the “ideal deal” despite the significant foreign direct investment into Africa over the past few years, which saw inflows to the continent rising to $46bn in 2018 followed by an 11% increase in 2019 (UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2019).
Technology as an essential ingredient in investment management success is no longer in question. Running on a differentiating investment strategy and some Excel spreadsheets simply isn’t viable. Fast-paced global markets, asset diversification and complexity, data volumes, investor servicing demands and intense competition mean advanced system capabilities are a must-have.
In October, Vantage Capital, Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager, made a $28m equity investment to acquire a significant minority shareholding in the Cliniques Internationales du Maroc Group (CIM Santé Group). For Vantage, this was the largest growth-capital investment to date. AGF’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Luc Albinski (pictured), Managing Partner, and Driss Benabdeslam, Associate Partner at Vantage Capital, to discuss details.
Several East African states have become the focus of attention for international investors. Economic growth in the region was around 6% in 2019 and is expected to be around 1-2% in the Corona year 2020. Real estate offers foreign investors good market access and enables them to increase yields and diversify risks
All around the world, Covid-19 has had a tremendous effect on education, closing schools for millions of students. In Africa, in particular, the school closures caused by the pandemic have exacerbated previously existing inequalities, and the children already most at risk of being excluded from a quality education have been the worst affected.
African Lions Fund closed its initial share offering on September 30 with 52 investors and approximately $3.7m under management. Africa Global Funds’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Tim Staermose, CEO of the Investment Manager, ST Funds Management, to learn more about the new offering and investment opportunities in Africa.
The first half of 2020 has been a roller coaster of emotions for the continent. There has been a drop in funding of $115.5m (24%) in H1 2020 that raised $370.5m across 149 rounds compared to $486m across 193 deals of H1 2019. On a positive note, February recorded the highest number in deal count (34 deals) that valued $124.7m for the period, which is 226.4% more than $38.2m raised across 22 deals in February 2019. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which has caused a drop is funding for startups on the continent as fundraising plans continue to be re-evaluated and business models tested. Most investors are cautious and continue to fund existing portfolio companies and or sectors that are seeing upside from Covid-19 effects. Funding to women led or women co-founded startups remains low at 13% of all funding raised. From the stage of funding rounds, Africa remains broadly a nascent to evolving startup ecosystem.
SAVCA’s 2020 private equity survey, which reports on data for the 2019 period, reveals that while there has been an increase in women and black investment professionals within the Private Equity (PE) space over the past few years, there is room for further growth and improvement. As at December 31, 2019, 28% of all investment professionals were female and 43% were black. When looking at fund manager ownership, the numbers start to shrink; only 9% of fund managers are female-owned whilst a growing number – currently 38% – are black-owned.
Tim Staermose, CEO of ST Funds Management, explores how you can be defensive with your investments at this uncertain time, yet still invest in fast-growing companies poised for significant stock price gains