Cracking the Nut Africa was held this past week at the Serena Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference brought together Africa-focused investors, entrepreneurs, development workers and government officials to explore innovative approaches to improving rural livelihoods and food security by partnering with the private sector.
Hunter Thompson, Director of Karisimbi Business Partners, and Jon Porter, Lead Investment Manager of Karisimbi Capital Partners led attendees through a presentation entitled “Profiling Investors for East African Investment Opportunities” during one of the conferences breakout sessions. The presentation focused on identifying which characteristics were typical of investors who were more likely to move forward with an actual investment in a target geography. If investment attractors were able to identify these characteristics early on – Karisimbi Partners asserted – then it could be determined relatively quickly which investors to deploy scare resource toward.
Using Rwanda as an example and drawing from five years of experience working with investors, the pair highlighted the following as being characteristics of investors who are more likely to consummate deals in Rwanda.
- Investing with “eyes wide open” – not uninformed of the specific challenges faced in Rwanda
- Comfortable with incomplete information – able to move forward despite potential lack of good data
- Actively looking for deals – not waiting for deals to be brought to them
- Able to operate with limited practical government or donor support – happy to have it, but not an essential part of the business model
- Country specific commitment and/or social motivation – essential in light of the many significant country-specific challenges
- Commitment to local presence and/or active involvement – not a passive investor or limited partner
- Undefined exit strategy / extended time horizon – willing to be involved 5-10 years and beyond
- Flexible and appropriate investment criteria – ticket size and other criteria that are well-suited to many potential deals in the target geography
The presentation was followed by a panel comprised of top managers from several of the largest agribusiness investments in Rwanda in the past five years who discussed which characteristics highlighted in the presentation described their own investors and why they were important.
Karisimbi Partners wants to extend a special thanks to the panelists who added a level of depth and real-world examples to the presentation – Gilbert Gatali of KZ Noir, Matt Smith of Rwanda Trading Company, Claude Mansell of MINIMEX Group and Nathan van Dusen of Carana Corporation.