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Capital Markets

Africa: Investments return, with a difference

Frontier stock markets in Africa have missed out on this years’ rebound in emerging markets. But some private equity funds with a history of investing in sub-Saharan Africa are continuing to raise money for the continent, even if there is often a strong reliance on development agencies.

The funds are focusing in particular on infrastructure and domestic consumer markets.

Kingdom Zephyr, for example, is raising its second fund, which is aiming for $420 million. The venture between US-based Zephyr Management and the holding company of Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal is expecting a second close for the fund. A first close, for $326 million, was completed in June 2008.

Panos Voutyritsas, one of Kingdom Zephyr’s partners, says that the new fund will focus on firms directly benefiting from infrastructure development in African countries rather than individual projects. It received about $100 million from development agencies in its first close, with $160 million from Prince Alwaleed’s holding company and $60 million from private sources.

New York-based Greylock Capital Management is raising its first dedicated Africa fund, and is opening an office in Ghana. It aims to raise about $200 million, having raised $80 million in May.

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