Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of strengthening supply chains in Africa to reduce reliance on other continents, where possible, private equity investment firm Agile Capital principal dealmaker Liz Kolobe tells Engineering News.
Therefore, the company has announced that it is open to exploring new opportunities and is looking to deploy the capital it has available in its fourth private equity fund, whether directly or through its portfolio companies.
“Although Agile Capital is a South African fund, we see value in investing in companies that operate on the rest of the continent,” says Kolobe.
She adds that, despite some of the economic, political and regulatory challenges in Africa, there are compelling opportunities for growth.
The company has also lauded initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, saying that it holds the potential to improve the “ease of doing business” and the flow of goods across Africa.
Additionally, companies in different African countries are beginning to acknowledge the benefits of doing business with each other, including the ability to build scale.
While countries, such as China, have invested significantly in projects in Africa which have generated good returns, the skills transfer and the development of local communities have not necessarily kept apace.
“We see Africa having strong growth prospects, particularly in consumer-related sectors,” she points out.
Agile Capital currently has exposure to countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo through one of its portfolio companies, Provantage Media Group, in the out-of-home media space.
Kolobe notes that, although Agile Capital is sector agnostic, the company does not invest directly in real estate, mining and primary agriculture, but does invest in companies supplying to these sectors through the value chains.
“We have investments in mining services businesses and facilities management businesses, which support these industries.”