Africa’s “missing middle” is the subject of much debate.
At PEI’s inaugural Africa Forum, which took place in London this month, four investment professionals with involvement in the African mid-market came together to discuss this segment of the market: arguably the heartbeat of the African economy. Does it offer a genuine commercially viable investment opportunity? Or is it simply window-dressing for an aid agenda?
The four panellists are:
Coco Ferguson, partner at Maris Capital, describes how these smaller funds can be considered the “truffle pigs”, sourcing tomorrow’s deal flow for the more established funds. Maris operates in post-conflict and frontier African markets, such as South Sudan and Mozambique;
Tom Cairnes, founder and director of ManoCap, which also invests in post-conflict and emerging African nations, such as Sierra Leone;
Piers Cumberlege, president of advisory firm Straightview, which is currently helping establish a SME-focused fund for Lundin for Africa, the philanthropic arm of the Lundin Group of Companies;
Alexander Dixon, vice president of Africa for Small Enterprise Investment Funds (SEAF), a global private equity and mezzanine fund management firm focused on the emerging markets.