Africa Market Overview May 2018

2018 has begun with a more promising outlook for many of the diverse markets across Africa. We have taken a look at the trends affecting financial services and their impact on hiring


  • Having seen political issues in South Africa and Kenya, two of the powerhouse African economies, weigh heavily on market sentiment in 2017, a relative period of stability, brought about by the election of Cyril Ramaphosa and the Rex Tillerson brokered deal in Kenya, has increased expectations for 2018. In March the OECD raised South Africa growth forecasts for both 2018 & 2019, while GDP expectation for Kenya is around 5.8% for 2018, having dropped to 4.5% in 2017

  • The Nigerian  elections scheduled for 2018 had been expected to cast a shadow over the year, however President Buhari’s declaration of intent to run following his apparent recovery combined with the relatively buoyant oil price have meant that the potential for deal making still exists

Capital Markets Recovery

  • Major capital markets activity from Sub-Saharan Africa remains a possibility this year with MTN’s long awaited listing of both its Ghanaian & Nigerian units on their respective exchanges being obvious highlights. The Ghanaian subsidiaries expected USD790 mln listing would be the largest in the countries history. While Helios Towers have shelved a planned offering, another Helios portfolio company, Vivo Energy, remains on track to be the first major listing of an African-based business on the London Stock Exchange since Seplat in 2014

  • The JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) will receive a significant boost this year with Old Mutual switching its primary listing to South Africa from London, where it first listed in 1999, with London becoming its secondary location. Expectation is for a pick up in JSE listing as companies look to take advantage of increased international investor appetite post Zuma’s departure

Hiring Trends

  • While bulge bracket banks have not been adding headcount significantly in either local offices in Johannesburg, Nairobi or Lagos, South African platforms have been increasingly active in London, particularly in growing their distribution capabilities given the expected financing activity. Samta LALAN will join Nedbank from Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) in London leading loan syndication, while RMB had only recently bolstered their syndication capabilities themselves, bring Nancy HWU from Standard Chartered. Fellow South African platform Absa are setting up their own London office with an emphasis on origination and distribution capabilities, post the split from Barclays

  • Financial sponsors have primarily been focused on execution level hiring, such as Helios hire of Bassem RAAFAT from JP Morgan’s TMT team as an Associate, with an emphasis on deal making driving hiring trends. Francophone language skills have also been in high demand given appetite for investing in smaller high growth economies across both North and Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa. The notable exception was Idris MOHAMED joining Carlyle from DPI as a Partner & Managing Director at the end of 2017, a strong hint the US PE giant will look to raise a second Sub-Saharan fund

  • An increasing number of newer sponsor platforms are favouring local offices over basing investment teams in London. Africa50, an independent infrastructure investor set up with the backing of 20 African sovereigns have based themselves in Casablanca, while the former Abraaj affiliate energy platform, Themis, have announced their new partnership with Denham will also be based locally

  • Despite the expected primary market activity, equity platforms are continuing to shrink with senior departures on research desks at Citi & JP Morgan in the last few months. The public buy-side is bolstering its research capabilities with hires from these desks such as Yvette BABB, JP Morgan’s Chief Economist/Strategist for Sub-Saharan Africa, who has joined NN Investment Partners Emerging Market Debt team

  • As across many emerging markets, wealth management hiring continues to be a growth area. While the Swiss powerhouses have grown their Africa dedicated relationship manager numbers is Zurich, Geneva and Dubai, other platforms are also looking to reform and grow their capabilities. Standard Chartered brought in Demir AVIGDOR as Market Head for Europe and Africa in the last quarter of 2017 in London, after a 16 year spell with UBS, while BNP Paribas promoted NRI head Masroor BATIN to CEO for Middle East & Africa

For the Delta house view and related mandates please reach out to Julian Cosby

Best Regards,

Delta Executive Search Team

Posted by Julian Cosby
Wednesday 9th May, 2018

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