Rob Withagen

  • "As investor demand continues to grow, the information ecosystem is developing at an increasing rate"

Sponsor foreword by Rob Withagen, CEO and Co-founder, Asoko Insight

Access to Africa’s growth markets is increasingly a strategic priority for investors, multinationals and governments across the world. Despite macroeconomic headwinds in recent years, interest in the continent’s technology, agriculture, infrastructure and consumer-related industries continues to attract capital and foster innovation.

However, Africa’s private sector – particularly the wider middle market of growth companies – remains under-capitalised and progress is slower than most would have anticipated.

Investors claim there is a large and growing supply of capital looking for too few deals. This mismatch is exacerbated by the disproportionate costs of collecting and verifying company-level information when venturing into new territory, a challenge that can cause transactions to fail if they are not missed altogether.

Meanwhile, African companies seeking funds are unsure how or where to engage with investors. The ecosystem is dominated by relationships, limiting deal opportunities to the most established players with large ticket sizes.

Investors are calling for more information and transparency, yet in the absence of objective and secured circulation, private company owners are not seeing enough value to make this happen.

At Asoko, we address the issue by providing local companies with access to a secured platform designed to collect, verify and showcase their data. Company executives find value through visibility and market intelligence, while investors, banks and global corporates gain access to a widening, curated landscape of deals.

As investor demand continues to grow, the information ecosystem is developing at an increasing rate, driven by technology and data science. In this environment, local companies are finding more and more value in corporate transparency.

The Companies to Inspire Africa report is an essential contribution to that value. As a partner in the initiative, we have personally witnessed the enthusiasm among thousands of local corporates to set aside their reservations and share detailed information on their promising businesses. Rather than by regulatory enforcement, company participation in innovative information sharing systems will set the pace for the development of corporate governance, transparency and, ultimately, more private sector capitalisation.

Following a year of hard work, we’re very proud to see the outcome of the second edition of Companies to Inspire Africa. On behalf of Asoko, I would like to thank the team at LSEG for their commitment to this project.

A particular word of appreciation to the companies covered in this report. Through your participation you have single-handedly set the benchmark for transparency and performance for your own businesses as well as inspired many around you.