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Urbanization AND consumerism pushing
private equity investment in Africa: analysts 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Rapid urbanization, a growing middle-class and increased consumerism are among things that are making private equity firms raise their investment in Africa, analysts said on Monday.

Cytonn, an investment firm, said the investment has been on the rise for the better part of this year as more investors putting money in financial technology, education, financial services and health sectors, among others.

According to Africa Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA), in the first quarter of 2018, private equity deals across Africa totaled 1 billion U.S. dollars. Between 2010 and 2017, private equity funders have invested in Africa some 25.6 billion dollars.

“There is also an attractive valuation in the sub-Saharan Africa’s private markets compared to the public markets and even the global markets. There has also been a better economic projection in the sub-Saharan Africa compared to global markets,” said Cytonn.

In Kenya, Catalyst Principal Partners, a private equity firm, last month raised 15.8 billion Kenyan shillings (155 million U.S. dollars) from pension funds and international investors in its second round of funding.

Similarly, in South Africa, private equity firm Ethos announced last month 49 million dollars investment into Channel VAS, a FinTech provider that specializes in data analytics and mobile financial services, according to Cytonn.

“We remain bullish on private equity as an asset class in sub-Saharan Africa. Going forward, the increasing investor interest and stable macro-economic environment will continue to boost deal flows into African markets,” said the firm.



UN official urges Africa to borrow in local currencies to improve debt sustainability

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A United Nations official on Sunday urged African states to borrow in local currencies in order to improve their debt sustainability.

Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, told Xinhua in Nairobi that the continent will need to work together with the financial market as well as concessional lenders like the World Bank and the African Development Bank to help bring down the risk of local currency lending.

“Local currency denominated debt issued domestically or abroad could help the continent reduce its exposure to exchange rate risk that could lead to debt distress,” Songwe said during the 49th Plenary Session of the African Economic Research Consortium Biannual Research Workshop.

The five-day event brought together over 200 participants, including researchers, policymakers and private sector actors.

Songwe said a number of African countries such as Rwanda and South Africa have already issued local-currency debt.



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