November 1, 2011
Interviewed by: David Snow

Expert Q&A With Graham Stokoe of EY

Graham Stokoe of EY discusses what investors need to know about Africa and how EY can help.

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Privcap: What do private investors need to know about Africa?

Stokoe: I think the first thing that comes to mind is not to underestimate the task at hand.  Africa consists of 53 countries, it’s not an India or China, it’s a diverse continent with many languages, many cultures, many countries.  So you really need to first sort of deal macroeconomic research, find out where you want to invest, which regions, which sectors, what’s really going to give you the returns, give you your objectives that you want to achieve, and then take it from there in terms of building a pipeline of potential deals, getting your networks working, getting your advisors and EY can really help you throughout that process from the initial process in building the networks. We have the offices in probably more than 70, 80% of the countries across Africa and introducing you to a couple of leading players and hearing from their successes, from their war stories and learning from their experiences.

Privcap: How can EY help investors navigate the Africa opportunity?

Stokoe: Most services are probably due diligences, evaluations to some extent as well, a little bit of M&A work, investment banking community is not like it is in Europe in US, so depending on less so in South Africa, given there’s a big investment banking community.  But there’s more opportunities for us throughout the rest of Africa.  But probably in the transactions based more in the due diligence and advising that investment timeline can be a long process.  There’s a whole lot of work that we can do in helping you to get to that stage where you’ve actually got a potential investment on the table.

I think the one other thing particularly to highlight about EY across Africa is that we operate as one business.  So having a point of contact in South Africa and Nigeria, Ivory Coast, or whatever and really put you in contact with EY office throughout Africa, it’s not a whole lot of the small partnerships. We operate as one business and in that way, I think we’ve at a better place to serve you in the way that we operate as one business across Africa.