On July 17, I participated as a speaker at the Musa Capital annual CEO conference, which was held at Park Hyatt Hotel Rosebank in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Musa Capital Advisors is a boutique merchant banking firm, with expertise and transaction experience in private equity investing, structured finance and investment banking advisory services. In the private equity field, Musa has set up two successful funds and are currently mobilizing investors for a third.
The firm was founded in 1995 by an American team from Wall Street, who relocated to South Africa as they saw unparalleled opportunities for private equity investments on the African continent.
The conference, which is an annual event, was well attended by about 100 people from both the local business community in South Africa and a substantial number of international investors. Also media and television was present to report from the event.
The introduction speech was made by Musa Capital co-founder and Executive Director William Jimerson, who spoke about the development of private equity on the African continent, giving examples from Musa Capitals 20 year experience.
For almost two decades, Musa Capital have invested and evaluated transactions in over 25 emerging markets. For the firms first private equity first fund investments grew in value over 5 times and the second and current fund will have similar performance in with value already having multiplied 3 times since 2008. For the second fund, the firm has closed over nine investments in 5 sectors, covering 6 countries.
I was in the second slot to speak, and I gave a talk about globalisation, hyper competition and how private equity firms can use innovation impact tools to plan and track the development of their investments.
The main point I made is that the new situation with increasing hyper competition in most markets and industries requires work with continuous incremental innovation in a number of dimensions, not only development of products and services but also innovation in dimensions such as business model, brand development, customer engagement and development and enhancement of internal processes. By gearing for and doing this, companies can get ahead of competitors in both the ongoing business but most importantly in the driving the business of the future, and thus act pro-actively instead of reacting to competitors achievements.
The third speaker was Jay Koh, head of Investment Funds and Chief Investment Strategist at OPIC, the World Bank affiliated Overseas Private Investment Corporation, who spoke about their view of the African continent and their investment strategies and objectives.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the U.S. government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and, in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.
A strong topic throughout the day was Musa Capitals involvement with corporate social responsibility. Investment and social development go hand in hand at Musa and the team approaches investment opportunities with a set of guidelines that consistently incorporate the social economic impact of the communities in which Musa and its portfolio companies operate. This includes internship programmes in fund portfolio companies, scolarship programmes and sponsorship of community development.
For the interested reader, below is a link to an interview with William Jimerson made by CNBC in September 2011.