GroFin West Africa Regional Director, Gwen Abiola-Oloke, was invited to the African Development Bank’s inaugural African launch of the ‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2017’ Report on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 at its headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The event, held by the AfDB in collaboration with the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), saw Gwen holding forth at a panel discussion on the topic “How private equity and venture capital can be harnessed to support growth companies in Africa.”
She spoke of how GroFin supports its portfolio companies to access finance and assists them with market linkages, access to human capital, strategic partnerships and corporate governance practices, among others, to enable them to advance to the next phase of growth.
She also commented on how GroFin helps its clients to take advantage of emerging trends to maximise growth opportunities and create jobs at the base of the pyramid.
Overall, the ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ initiative aims to provide global investors visibility of Africa’s high growth private sector companies and enable the private sector to access capital through financial intermediaries and Africa’s capital markets.
AfDB Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, Pierre Guislain stressed the importance of the private sector in Africa’s development and in the Bank’s activities, in his opening remarks.
Next, LSEG co-head Emerging Markets, Ibukun Adebayo, noted that small and medium sized companies provide a vital platform for job creation and skills development in Côte d’Ivoire and that he was pleased to have the report bring these success stories to the fore.
Joining the AfDB and LSEG in launching the Companies to Inspire Africa 2017 Report on Africa’s soil were Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of National Entrepreneurship, Crafts and SME Promotion, Souleymane Diarrassouba and the British Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, Josephine Gauld.
Apart from AfDB, LSEG and Ivory Coast Ministry representatives, the event also witnessed participation of special guests from partners PwC and sponsors FTI Consulting and Citibank. Senior representatives from Africa focused private equity funds, investors, private companies, policy makers, financial institutions, stock exchanges and capital markets players also graced the event.
The report itself is a culmination of the LSEG’s research and collaboration with its partners the AfDB, CDC Group and PwC and extolls 343 fast growing private companies from across 42 African countries and 7 sectors – 124 West African companies, 103 East African, 90 Southern African, 61 North African; and 18 Central African.
The inaugural report, launched in the region with the highest number of small and medium enterprises listed in the report, demonstrates the breath and diversity of African private businesses and highlights Africa as a key region for growth opportunities.