With 200-plus private equity firms targeting the African market, you will be forgiven to believe that women are well represented in the sector. But only 7.6 percent of the of top private equity positions in Africa are held by women, compared to more than 10.6 percent in Asia.
Female influence in this male dominated sector is growing, however. Africa is now home to many powerful women in the public and private spheres and private equity is also opening up to more female executives. AFKInsider lists some of the top women shaping private equity in Africa.
Managing Director –Carlyle Group, Sub-Saharan Africa Fund
In 2011, U.S.-based alternative asset managing firm, Carlyle Group, created a $500 million Africa-focused fund. With experience as a partner and founding Managing Director of the Nigerian operations of Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), Genevieve Sangudi was appointed as its managing director to lead the groups foray in to the continent. Sangudi has an M.B.A from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in English and communication studies from Macalester College.
Managing Director, Women Private Equity Fund
Wendy Luhabe is one of the most respecedt South African female business leader. She serves on several boards including Vodacom Group and BMW South Africa. In 2002 she founded the $14 million Women Private Equity Fund (WPEF), which invests primarily in women-owned or led businesses. When it launched it was by then one of only 10 women-focused private equity funds in the world. The fund is now exiting most of its investments as it windup due to what Luhabe termed as lack of “appetite for it”. She is married to Mbhazima Shilowa, former member of the African National Congress from Gauteng Province who split in 2008 to form the Congress of the People.
Managing Partner, Satya Capital
The Ethiopian-born investment banker is a founding partner and CEO of Satya Capital, a London-based, African-focused private equity firm with over $200 million under management. Satya Capital was founded by Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim and normally commits over $20 million or more into companies focused on healthcare, financial services, energy and natural resources. She played a key role in leading the M&A process that ultimately led to the $3.4 billion acquisition of Celtel by MTC Kuwait (and made Mo Ibrahim a billionaire). She has a double major in Economics and International Studies from Rhodes College and holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Ngozi Edozien started her career at consulting firm McKinsey before joining pharmaceutical giant Pfizer as head of the company’s East, Central and Anglo-Lusophone West Africa (ECAWA) region. With the help of IFC, AFDB and DEG, she co-founded Equity Vehicle for Health in Africa (EVHA), a private equity fund committed to investments in the Health sector. In 2009 she was appointed the CEO of Actis West Africa. Some of the notable companies under her wing include Mouka Foam, Diamond Bank and Seven Energy. She has BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Harvard Business School and an MBA from the same institution.
Chief Investment Officer, Vuwa
A career investment banker Goddard worked for Investec Bank for seven years before joining Vuwa as its chief investment officer. At Investec Goddard focused primarily on funding BEE transactions in the mid-market space as well as on other shareholder re-organizations. Cathy also has experience in funding traditional acquisition or growth finance requirements for unlisted companies. She also worked for Bridge Capital, where she assisted with due diligence, valuations and capital raising exercises. She sits on the board of Duff Scott Hospital, Ndiza Finance and Curaf Pharmaceuticals.
Chair and Managing Partner at TBL Mirror Fund
With a masters degree in Business Economics from the university of Groningen in Netherlands, Eline Blaaunoer, has done a tremendous job both in venture capitalism and private equity sector in Europe and Africa. She has worked on several projects that encourage entrepreneurs and SME’s investing in Africa. She was actively involved in the startup of Origins Venture capital fund for Africa, before she joined TBL in September 2006 and set a fund operating from Kenya.
Co-Founder and Managing Director Alpha Asset Management
Andia Chakava is the co-founder and Managing Director of Alpha Africa Asset Managers, a firm she established to capitalize on the growing investment opportunities within Africa. With an investment professional boasting over 12 years’ experience in asset management, she’s one of the most experienced woman in East Africa’s investment circles. She previously was the Managing director of Old Mutual Investment Group where assets worth over $1 billion where under her management. She is a graduate of York University in Canada where she obtained an honours degree in Economics and she has a Master of Business Administration degree with merit from Cass Business School London.
Partner, Consumer. Actis
Natalie Kolbe began her career working for Investec Bank where she was responsible for a team of investment consultants, she then moved to stockbrokers, Thebe Securities, before joining Actis in 2003 where she is has worked on several deals across Southern Africa. As the Partner in charge of Consumer clients at Actis she is responsible for Actis investments in Alexander Forbes and Savcio. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Witwatersrand, an MBA (Cum Laude) from Wits Business School and is a CFA charter holder.
Haitian-American, Managing Director Emerging Capital Partners (ECP)
Alex-Handrah Aimé, who also heads of the Johannesburg office, manages one of Africa’s largest private equity fund with over $2 billion dedicated to the continent. She oversees the fund’s seven office across africa and invests in 45 countries on the continent. Prior to joining ECP in 2008, Aimé was with Goldman Sachs where she focused on sub-Saharan Africa proprietary trading investment opportunities. While at Goldman, Ms Aimé executed a number of multi-billion dollar deals in the UK, Europe and emerging markets including Egypt, South Africa, Turkey, and the UAE. She graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. She obtained a J.D. with distinction from Stanford Law School and a MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
South African. Co-Founder and CEO IDF Managers
Polo Leteka is the co-founder of Identity Partners and the chief executive at IDF Managers, the first female-owned and led private equity firm in South Africa. She and her co-founder started the fund in the middle of a global financial crisis in 2008. Her fund invests in exclusively in women entrepreneurs and has succeeded where many others have failed.