The Future Of Africa’s Private Equity Space Is Increasingly Female
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Private equity is historically a male-dominated field, and historically, Africa’s local industry has been no different.
“Management roles for women in private equity are low in Africa,” Cindy Valentine, a partner at King and Wood Mallesons and African private equity advisory veteran, told AFKInsider, “Asia has historically had the highest percentage of women in senior roles, with 11.8 percent … For Africa, the figure is 7.6 percent.”
However, the profile of African women executive in Africa’s PE space is slowly rising.
“I think more women are entering the industry and more women are obtaining high profile positions,” Valentine said, giving several examples of women managing high profile funds, including Tsega Gebreyes, Genevieve Sangudi, Ngozi Edozien, and Runa Alam.
“These are all successful women leading large, high profile funds in Africa and it’s refreshing to see their impact on the industry, not only as leaders in their field, but as role models for women and in helping break down gender stereotypes within the industry,” she said.
Nonnie Wanjihia, executive director of the East Africa Venture Capital Association, also sees a change. In an email to AFKInsider, she said, “Private equity is a nascent industry here in East Africa but already I note at least two funds that have been founded by women in the last year alone.”
But what need to be done to encourage more women to join Africa’s rapidly-growing private equity ranks?
Andia Chakava, co-founder and managing director of Alpha Africa Asset Managers, identifies the importance of visibility. “The more you go out there and the more you show people that you’re there, the more that people who feel like they identify with you want to do it too. I think there’s a huge aspect of visibility.”