Atta Africa Financial Update

Executive summary:
The opening of Africa's Next Einstein Forum in Dakar provides an opportunity to comment on the striking need for improvement in Africa's tertiary education offering. Less than 2,000 colleges and universities provide tertiary education services to over a billion people in 55 counties. In comparison, the US is home to more than 4000 institutions for 320 million people. Only 14 of Africa's universities rank in the top 800 universities in the world and six of these institutions are based in South Africa. This soft offering is compounded by the African "brain drain" with more than 20,000 academic professionals moving to work and live abroad since 1990.

However, as the meeting of young scientists (#Africaeinsteins) in Dakar this week highlights, there is opportunity for an education renaissance. These meetings provide African talent with access to a pool of global knowledge. Africa must also seek to develop first-class educational institutions to develop new talent and to attract international leaders in both industry and research. One example of African-based progress is the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) - a pan-African network of centres of excellence for postgraduate education, research and outreach in mathematical science. AIMS has programs in six countries and plans to expand to 15.

Fact: The world's first human heart transplant operation was undertaken in Cape Town, South Africa. Regarding the risk, surgeon Christiaan Neethling Barnard said: for a dying man it is not a difficult decision; if a lion chases you to the bank of a river filled with crocodiles, you will leap into the water, convinced you have a chance to swim to the other side.

Atlas Mara in preliminary talks over Barclays assets

  • Unsurprisingly, Bob Diamond’s financial investment platform - Atlas Mara - is already in talks with Barclays regarding the selling down its holdings in Africa over the next 2 years
  • According to the Financial Times, Atlas Mara’s current market cap is worth about 15% of the value of the assets it is reportedly looking to acquire

Boon for Kenya: South Sudan joins regional bloc in East Africa

  • The admission of South Sudan into the East African Community bloc is a boon for Kenyan businesses as they seek to widen their business horizons
  • The bloc's market size has now increased to 162 million people
  • Others member states include Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi.
  • A huge number of Kenyan corporates already have operations in South Sudan. They include several banks and small scale enterprises all of which have set up base in Juba and other areas.

Nigerian firms dominate bid for Uganda's oil

  • The government received seven bids for the six exploration blocks on offer - the winners of the blocks are expected to be announced before the end of June
  • Three Nigerian oil and gas firms have submitted bids in the final round of Uganda's first oil licensing

African IPOs set to raise over US$3.1 billion in 2016

  • Africa’s equity capital markets are set for a strong 2016 following a reasonable 2015 despite commodity price falls and capital flight from emerging markets hitting the continent’s major economies
  • About 15 Initial Public Offering (IPOs) are already in the pipeline, with one, Nigeria’s Interswitch, which processes payments for banks and operates in five African countries, could be Africa’s first billion dollar IPO and first public Fintech company if it proceeds with plans to dual-list in London and Lagos rather than go for a trade sale
  • Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange’s plan to self-list this year
  • Botswana’s biggest IPO to date, that of Botswana Telecommunications Corporations Limited, which will close on 4 March
  • Real estate fund Tadvest’s dual-listing in Mauritius and Namibia

Key commercial and political activity in Africa for private equity investors by DCE Partners, UK Private Equity advisors to Atta.