On the Frontier

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Dodging bullets while investing in Africa

Such is business in a war zone – and an example of the risks that go with investing in volatile frontier markets. Yet ever more investors keen for high returns, social impact and an extreme challenge are flocking to Africa’s frontier markets from South Sudan to Sierra Leone, Ethiopia to DR Congo.

Read the full piece on the Financial Times website.

Q&A: Diamond and Thakkar Discuss Atlas Mara’s $265m Bank Deal

Initial investor response to Atlas Mara’s plans was enthusiastic. Coco Ferguson, a partner at $50m East Africa-based investment group Maris Capital, said growth in sub-Saharan Africa had been stymied by local banks’ limited interest in lending to small businesses: “Typically, all loans need 100% asset or land backing,” she said. “If this new bank takes a different approach, it could unleash a whole new life for small businesses in Africa. I can’t wait!”

Read the full piece on the Wall Street Journal’s website.

Hardwood to help South Sudan wean itself from oil dependence

One of the hardest woods in the world may help to soften the effects of conflict over oil in East Africa.

Equatoria Teak Company (ETC), a forestry group based in South Sudan, plans to start shipping the wood from the East African nation within two months, helping the country diversify away from its dependence on oil.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/hardwood-to-help-south-sudan-wean-itself-from-oil-dependence#ixzz2xchYtUiz

Advice for investors in South Sudan

Frontier Market Network interviewed Charlie Tryon to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing businesses in South Sudan. Maris Capital is is currently funding five projects in South Sudan.

Read the full article on Frontier Market Network’s site.

Consumer goods: Money to be made at grass roots


My life used to be about gold but now I’m just a red and green boy,” says George Theobald, in a declaration that might confuse anyone unfamiliar with Tanzania’s nascent, fast-moving consumer goods sector. 

Read the full story on the Financial Times site.

VC firm reaps first-mover benefits in South Sudan

The venture capital group has been involved in a number of projects in the region and has established an office in Juba, capital city of South Sudan, in order to develop relationships with local partners and better manage its work there.

Maris Capital’s involvement in the landlocked country, which requires significant infrastructure development following its independence, includes investment in a diverse range of young businesses.

Read the full article on Frontier Market Network’s site.

Investing at the sharp end of the African frontier

Sub-Saharan Africa offers investors attractive demographics and fast growth, but private equity is often the only way of gaining exposure….

Charlie Tyron [sic], manager of Maris ­Capital, says: “Africa is growing at least five times the speed of Europe, and our target markets are forecast to grow at eight times that of the ­eurozone in 2012.”

Maris is a venture capital group that specialises in African frontier markets. Its portfolio includes companies in such little known markets as South Sudan and Mozambique. Tyron [sic] adds: “There are different definitions of frontier markets. To us, it means post-conflict markets. We are looking at the frontier end of frontier.”

Read the full article on the Investment Europe site.

Private equity: Initiatives aim to bring in more business

Drawing on pensions money could unlock billions of dollars in institutional funds and permanently change the market, says Coco Ferguson, partner of Maris Capital.

Read the full piece on the Financial Times site.