African Venture Capital Association (AVCA), the umbrella body of shrewd African equity funds, is to hold a two-day conference here early next year aimed at raising the profile of the country as the international gateway of funds into African investments.
The conference, which will attract over 300 investors from African countries and beyond, is scheduled to run from March 16-18 next year. The conference, to be held at the Gaborone International Conference Centre, is jointly hosted by the Botswana International Financial Services Centre and Venture Partners Botswana.
“There are a good number of opportunities that we see from the upcoming conference. Botswana should start appearing on the radar screen of international investors looking for investments in Africa,” an executive at Botswana IFSC, Letsebe Seloe, said Thursday.
The move comes at a time when hungry international funds are targeting Africa ÔÇô commonly known as the last frontier ÔÇô especially in the field of energy development, mining and telecommunications.
Private equity funds are a fashionable vehicle of investment world wide and are mainly targeting green and brown fields’ entity with promising good returns.
According to study done by an international audit firm, KPMG, on Southern African private equity fund industry’s appetite for the region’s investment, investment is growing at a faster rate as the money under the industry management has reached US $ 56 billion last year compared to US $ 44 billion in 2005.
However, in Botswana, money under private equity funds management, comprising of African Alliance Botswana private equity, Bifm private equity, Peo Holdings and Venture Partners Botswana, stands at less than P 500 million.
In an attempt to jerk-up the private equity assets the largest pension funds in the country, BPOPF, designated 2.5 percent of its money towards the promotion of private equity in an attempt to bolster citizen economic empowerment.
Chief Investment Officer at Venture Partners Botswana, Ndaba Mpofu, said the conference will put Botswana’s private equity fund industry under the spotlight.
“The conference is expected to put the Botswana venture capital firmly in the spotlight. This will serve as a catalyst for the growth and the development of this important asset class in the country and the region as a whole.
“This means that, as a country, we need to work harder to attract more capital to the venture capital and private equity industry, and, in the process, foster the development of local entrepreneurship and business,” Mpofu said.
As part of the bigger scheme to raise the profile of private equity funds in the country, Venture Partners will soon embark on another capital raising, called VPB II, “ which would give an opportunity to both local and international investors to invest into private equities in Botswana and the SADC region”.
The conference is also expected to draw attention of the would be investor in the capital raising exercise by Venture Partners.