According to Africa Assets data, private equity (PE) firms invested US$1.13bn through 58 deals across
sub-Saharan Africa in 2012. This was a slight decline in number of deals compared to 2011. In 2011, the value
of PE activity was also much greater, bolstered by a few very large transactions. This year, we saw an industry characterised by lower volume, but in contrast by more breadth and depth.
In 2012, PE activity was spread widely across sub-regions and sectors. East Africa was a popular destination, claiming several of the largest deals of the year. But activity was roughly equally as strong in
both West and Southern Africa, with many deals done in Central Africa as well.
The top three countries for PE deals – Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa claimed 45% of deals by number
this year, compared to 61% of deals in 2011. Deals were spread across 13 different sectors. We also
saw the launch of a variety of new funds covering everything from mining and natural resources to
the classic consumer story and SMEs. A similar mix of funds held closes during the year, raising money for
sectors such as forestry, housing, ICT, agribusiness, commodities and even venture capital.
African PE continues to present a challenging environment, with high risk, short track records,
relatively limited deal flow and fundraising still dominated by soft capital.
To read the in depth report on East African private equity, download the full report here.