To strengthen private equity (PE) investment in sub-Saharan Africa it is necessary to create a PE support fund, to facilitate knowledge sharing, to set up PE education programme and to support its regional expansion. These were the findings of a capstone project carried out by Masters’ students of Esade (Barcelona, Spain) who worked on the topic “Private Equity Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa: a survey of helping factors” under the mentorship of the EIB Economics Department and of Professor Fulya Apaydin vom Hau.

Such a fund could support the expansion of PE firms outside dominant countries like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa where capital markets are more mature and regulatory environment is better than in countries with underdeveloped capital markets and weak regulatory environment like Uganda and Tanzania.

Using data from 68 PE firms active in Sub-Saharan Africa and their managers combining multiple sources, students found out that over 30% of them are headquartered in South Africa and Nigeria and 30% of total Assets Under Management are held in the UK.

PE firms in sub saharan Africa are particularly active in finance, technology and healthcare sectors. The majority of PE firms openly link their investment strategies to their commitment to ESG investing but a third had no Environmental, Social and Governance awareness. Their management has the same key features: a predominance of male executives and senior managers with 85.5% of all managers having a Masters’ degree from a university based in a country in the Global North.

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A capstone is a students’ consultancy project: a team of four to six Masters’ students guided by a professor works under the supervision of the EIB Group staff who has proposed the topic. Projects have a resolutely operational approach and enable students to undertake a real-life consulting project on topics relevant to the EIB Group. At the same time, they allow EIB Group staff to carry out useful and often directly applicable operational research.


photo: from left to right Prof Fulya Apaydin vom Hau and her students, Celina Ferrari, Gabriela Manea, Sara Feletto, Joana Roel Santiso, Javier Octavio Ospital Greslebin and Petra Riccardi