West Africa leading Central Africa on business reforms: investor

DAKAR (Reuters) – West Africa nations are racing ahead of their Central African counterparts in deepening economic integration and slashing red tape to open up regional business opportunities, a private equity fund manager said.

Patrice Backer, chief operating officer for Advanced Finance and Investment Group (AFIG), said his $72 million fund was invested in finance, mining and agricultural services in the small but rapidly growing economies along Africa’s Atlantic Coast.

Backer said he was seeing changes in the perception in Francophone Africa that private equity was an “Anglo-Saxon” business but more understanding was needed of how the industry could fund firms keen to grow but starved of credit by banks.

AFIG has committed its fund to seven investments ranging from a mining services company in Mauritania and banking in Chad, Liberia and Rwanda, to a Senegalese bus-maker and an agriculture firm serving cocoa growers in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

While Francophone nations in West and Central Africa share currencies and a common business law, West Africa had made more progress in freeing up movement of people and goods, he said.

“I would not underestimate this ability to travel. A lot of people are deterred from trying to do certain regional ventures by the bureaucratic procedures,” he said. “West Africa has done more work than central Africa at regional integration.”

Leave a Reply

how can we help you?

Contact us at the our office nearest to you or submit a business inquiry online.

Looking for a First-Class Business Plan Consultant?