African Venture Capital Association (AVCA) to provide PE data

** Save the date: AVCA’s 9th conference will be in Accra, Ghana, from 22-24 April, with extra days for GP and LP training (announced today 2 Nov). More details will be available soon **

The African Venture Capital Association ( and Cambridge Associates (, a global provider of independent research and investment advice, have agreed to work together to provide extensive, independent aggregate African private equity and venture capital benchmark data and statistics to AVCA members and other industry participants.
The 2 organizations will issue quarterly performance data which will include African PE and VC industry returns, compared to other market indices. Returns data will be aggregated to protect the confidentiality of individual funds and their underlying portfolio investments. Vintage year returns and aggregate portfolio returns by industry will be reported where the sample size is sufficiently robust to allow disclosure without compromising confidentiality. Cambridge Associates has been advising institutional and private clients on alternative assets since the 1970s and derives its PE and VC benchmarks from financial information in its proprietary database of institutional-quality PE and VC funds, one of the largest such data repositories in the world.
Michelle Kathryn Essomé, AVCA CEO (see below), commented in a press release: “AVCA is absolutely committed to promoting the dissemination of robust, reliable data on private equity and venture capital in Africa. We are thrilled to collaborate with Cambridge Associates, as they have demonstrated the necessary technical expertise, knowledge of the continent, and global track record to meet this objective. I am confident that this will help promote additional transparency and independent benchmarking to the benefit of all industry stakeholders.”
Cambridge Associates will provide the data to AVCA as a service to its members and the global PE and VC industry overall. Cambridge Associates works closely to grow its coverage of the emerging markets PE and VC industries with the international development institutions that are major limited partners in these markets, and also partners with the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA).

More awareness
Ralph Jaeger, senior research consultant and co-head of international private equity and venture capital research at Cambridge Associates said: “We are delighted at the opportunity to work with AVCA to broaden and deepen the industry’s awareness of private equity and venture capital in Africa. Cambridge Associates continuously seeks to expand our manager research coverage to create benchmarks that can serve as valuable tools for the industry. Assessing the attractiveness of private equity and venture capital in Africa will allow investors to better identify local and regional investment opportunities.”

AVCA and Cambridge Associates
AVCA is a non-profit association whose aim is to promote, develop and stimulate private equity and venture capital in Africa through research, advocacy, training, networking and the dissemination of industry best practices. It was established in 2002 and today represents African private equity and venture capital firms, institutional investors, foundations, international development institutions and global professional service firms, amongst others. AVCA.
Cambridge Associates was founded in 1973 and gives investment consulting, independent research and benchmarks, performance-reporting and outsourced portfolio solutions, across all asset classes, to over 900 institutional investors and private clients worldwide. It has more than 200 professionals dedicated to consulting, research, and performance reporting on alternative assets and compiles performance results for more than 4,400 private partnerships and more than 60,000 portfolio company investments to publish its proprietary private investments benchmarks.

AVCA’s new CEO
The African Venture Capital Association (AVCA) announced the appointment of Michelle Kathryn Essomé as its CEO in September, in a press release. She has nearly 20 years of investment-banking experience and has held a range of marketing and origination roles in equities, fixed income, corporate finance and investment management with Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers and Nomura. Michelle holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School, where she was a Robert F. Toigo fellow, and a BBA in Finance from Howard University. She has worked in the US, UK and France and is fluent in French. She commented: “This is an incredibly important time in the development of the African private equity industry and AVCA has a crucial role to play in supporting GPs and promoting the asset class. I am absolutely delighted to be able to harness the support of the African GP community, our DFI partners and peer associations to build a strong, member-centric association.”
“As CEO, my commitment is to ensure AVCA provides consistent, high value services to our members and acts as a catalyst for the development of private equity in Africa.”
AVCA, which is co-chaired by Tshepidi Moremong, also welcomes 2 new prominent members to its board. Runa Alam has joined the board as a co-Chair. She is a co-founding partner and CEO of Development Partners International LLP. Simon Walker has been appointed a Special Advisor to the board. Simon was CEO of the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) from 2007 to 2011 and was recently appointed as the Director General of the Institute of Directors. For more details of their backgrounds, see the press release.

Working with BVCA
In August, AVCA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BVCA to boost the implementation of its re-launched strategy across Africa, according to a report on AVCA is to get technical support from the BVCA including expertise in training African private equity fund managers and other professionals. AVCA will also be able to increase training to pension funds and other institutional investors and to encourage local institutional participation, an initiative supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Private equity in Africa
According to AVCA: “Private equity in Africa has a very important role to play in building better, more sustainable companies, creating jobs and delivering genuine economic growth. The continent’s burgeoning middle-class combined with a growing consumer base and greater political stability is making Africa an attractive investment destination.
“Average economic growth in the region reached 5.8% between 2000 and 2008, more than the global average of 4%, driving interest from global private equity houses. In the first half of this year, US$1.1bn was raised by Sub-Saharan African funds.”


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