Harare, Zimbabwe

February 1st, 2018  |  Edition # 09

Our cover photo this month comes from the amazingly talented, Ralph Kuda Chikambi based in the capital city of Harare, Zimbabwe. Named one of the "20 Zimbabweans on Instagram you should be following," @ralphchikambi is determined to show the world the real Zimbabwe documented through his lens.

After years of economic decline, Zimbabwe’s economy is projected to grow by up to 6% in 2018. Not long ago, the former "bread basket of Africa” reached a critical inflection point, leading many to believe a new dawn is on the horizon. At Baobab Biz, we live for new beginnings. We look forward to seeing Zimbabwe re-engage with the world and re-emerge as a global power. Now if only the other stagnant economies on “The Rising Continent” could follow suit, but that’s a discussion for another day. Moving right along…



From the richest person in Africa for the 7th year in a row...

 Source: FORBES


Meet the VC Partners on a mission to boost Africa's startup ecosystem.

General Partners at Partech Africa, Tidjane Dème and Cyril Collon

The story behind Partech Ventures... Once upon a time (in 1982) there was a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, with a soft spot for investing in digital and information technology companies. Over the years, this VC firm grew into a transatlantic network of Partners with offices in San Francisco, Paris, Berlin and Dakar. Today Partech Ventures is the go-to platform for tech financing, with over €1 billion raised globally for startups at seed, venture and growth stages. 

No startup left behind... On January 18th, Partech Ventures announced the launch of an Africa-focused fund to provide cash money aka early stage funding to outstanding entrepreneurs in Africa. The Partech Africa fund has already raised $70 million of its $122 million target, making it the first fund dedicated to the fast growing tech ecosystem on the continent. The fund will be managed by Tidjane Dème and Cyril Collon, General Partners at Partech Africa; and is backed by blue chip corporate partners like Orange, Edenred, JCDecaux Holding, Bpifrance and major financial institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Investment Bank.

Bridging the funding gap...
It turns out startups in Africa aren't doing too badly. According to Partech's research, African startups raised $366 million in 2016, a $90 million jump from the previous year. However a huge slice of this funding pie, 79.4% to be exact, went to startups in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. That is so not fair...and is probably what entrepreneurs in Francophone Africa must be saying. That's where Partech Africa comes in. Their new fund promises to spread its tentacles beyond the leading tech ecosystems and invest in under-tapped markets like Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Cameroon. “We think the impact of a local VC should also be to widen the scope and look at other markets that people know less of,” says Tidjane Dème.

Why you should care... There's serious money being plugged into the African tech scene. So far, most investment rounds have been led by US or European based investors who don't always understand the complexities of the local market. In the words of Cyril Collon, Partech Africa's General Partner based in Senegal, "The ecosystem is ready for local players, with African teams being able to finance the best African startups.” As Africa grows more connected, the digital technology sector is expected to contribute $300 billion to the region’s GDP by 2025, according to a Mckinsey report. That being said, it's not all about the Benjamins. In order for Africa's tech ecosystem to continue to grow and thrive, there also needs to be a sustainable support system for entrepreneurs with collaborative networking opportunities, dynamic mentoring programs and a fluid exchange of information across the continent. Who knows? It may just be a matter of time before another "unicorn" emerges from a swanky co-working space in Francophone Africa.



What to say when your boss asks how the report is coming along...

We're making progress. Last year Barclays Africa Group and think tank OMFIF launched the Africa Financial Markets Index. The new index ranks 17 financial markets in Africa based on market depth, access to foreign exchange, transparency and regulation, capacity of local investors, macroeconomic opportunity and enforceability of financial agreements. According to a new Barclays Africa report, South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana are the leading markets right now. Considering that Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world, we hope this index will draw global attention to the investment opportunities and untapped market potential on the continent.

Dow Jones Africa Titans 50 Index: 635.62 (-0.01%) on January 31, 2018

Here are a few high-profile deals that caught our eye...

Private Equity Deals
  • Off Grid Electric secures $55 million series D funding from Helios and GE Ventures. This is the largest venture equity investment into Africa.
  • TPG signs agreement to acquire TRACE, a music focused media company recognized as one of Africa's leading youth brands.
  • New York based Kuramo Capital seals deal to acquire a stake in Sterling Capital, a Kenyan Investment Bank set for local and regional expansion.
  • The Public Investment Corporation buys 25% stake in ZAR X, one of South Africa's newest stock exchanges. PIC is Africa's largest asset manager, managing over R1.9 trillion in assets.
  • KKR exits African investment. The global investment firm sold its majority stake in Ethiopia’s Afriflora, the world’s largest grower of roses, to Sun EP.
  • LeapFrog sells BIMA, an emerging markets mobile insurer to Allianz X, as part of a $96.6 million deal.
  • Amethis Finance invests in Afriwara, an agro-industrial firm based based in Côte d'Ivoire.
  • KMR Holding Pédagogique has agreed to acquire Université Internationale de Casablanca.
  • Mail & Guardian assumes new ownership. The South African weekly newspaper was acquired by Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a New York-based not-for-profit investment for independent media in emerging markets.
  • Longreen Capital backs Egyptian restaurant firm for debut deal.
  • Oasis Capital, an Accra-based private equity fund manager invests an undisclosed stake in Legacy Girls College, a private school in Ghana.
Venture Capital Deals
  • Partech Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, launches $122 million fund for African tech startups. 
  • Clifftop Ventures increases its Equity Capital Drawdown Facility (ECDF) to $314,000 for South African online audio services company The fresh capital will be used to expand the business outside of South Africa into larger African markets like Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania.
Africa's economic forecast for 2018: Sunny with a chance of rain...

The World Bank predicts Africa's average economic growth will rise to 3.2% in 2018 (it was 2.4% in 2017). But don't pop the champagne just yet. Much of that growth will depend on improving commodity prices and executing economic reforms — two things Africa is not that great at (if we're being totally honest).

  • Applications for the fourth cycle of the Tony Elumelu Foundation's (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme are now open. The business development programme provides training, mentoring, funding and network access to catalyze growth in African entrepreneurs. 
Advertise your event here.Simply send us the details and we'll do the rest. 
Why African millenials can't get enough of Bitcoin. 

 - BBC
MTN and Ericsson kick off first 5G technology trial in Africa.

It's about to get easier (and possibly cheaper) for almost 700 million Africans to travel by air in Africa. 

Rebooting the African Diaspora's role on the continent


Bananas are Cameroon's fifth largest foreign exchange earner. In the words of Davido...Banana fall on you.

For more fascinating facts check out Isima Odeh on twitter, @AfricaFactsZone
Africa is NOT a shit hole, but I'm sure YOU already knew that...
Young African Millennials  -  YAMs

Happy New Year (for the gazillionth time) and we wish you a spectacular month of February. Send your African skyline photos, volatile cryptocurrencies and upcoming events to As always, remember the African proverb - "Wisdom is like a baobab tree. No one person can embrace it, but a tribe can." So if you found this newsletter to be a refreshing summary of business and tech news from The Rising Continent, please don't keep it to yourself. Share it with a friend and be a part of the growing Baobab Biz tribe. 
Till next time, stay current and keep hustling...


PS: Siyabonga and thank you so much for subscribing to the first business newsletter for African millennials by African millennials. If a buddy forwarded Baobab Biz to you and you'd like to receive it in your own inbox, sign up here

A newsletter for the ones who dare to believe that Africa is the future

Baobab Biz is a a culturally engaging newsletter for young African millennials. Whether you’re in London, Lagos, Limpopo or Los Angeles, we’ve got you covered on the latest business, entrepreneurship and tech news from The Rising Continent. Think of us like your monthly news fix, with a healthy dose of humor.

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