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Musa Capital’s Namibia Mid-Cap Fund Acquires Swanib Cables, Enabling Transformation for the Namibian Economy

Musa Capital SWANIB

Namibia Mid-Cap Fund Acquires Swanib Cables, Enabling Transformation for the Namibian Economy

Swanib Cables, a distributor of electric cables, transformers and fibre optic cables to the Namibian mining, utilities / infrastructure and telecom sectors has been a market leader over the past 20 years. It boasts a robust customer base which includes multi-national mining operations, national and regional government, as well as Namibian blue-chip companies.

The Namibian Mid-Cap Fund (“NMCF”) completed its acquisition of 100% of the shareholding in Swanib Cables from Powertech International Holdings, part of the JSE listed Altron Group.

The Swanib acquisition was made with the intention to grow the organisation into a regional diversified distribution platform through a combination of organic and bolt-on acquisitive growth. The acquisition is aligned with the Namibian Government and the Government Institutions Pensions Fund’s (“GIPF”) policy goals of infrastructure investment to drive economic growth, job creation, as well as meaningful economic transformation and participation.

The Transaction is expected to provide broader benefits to the Namibian economy, which include: 1) localising shareholding from a South African JSE-listed shareholder to Namibian beneficiaries and incentivising empowerment partners to grow the value of the business, and 2) empowering locals, including previously disadvantaged Namibians, through meaningful equity participation and Namibian job creation.

Musa Capital Namibia (“MCN”) is the Fund Manager for the Namibian Mid-Cap Fund, and a subsidiary of Johannesburg based firm, Musa Group (“MG”).  MG is a diversified operating company with financial advisory and fund management capabilities that has been operating in Africa for 22 years.  NMCF is Musa Group’s third African private equity fund.

NMCF is a Namfisa registered investment vehicle, organized as a Trust in Namibia for the purpose of making quasi-equity and equity investments in private Namibian companies.  MCN primarily targets investments into existing businesses requiring expansion capital in the following priority sectors: agribusiness, consumer related industries, financial services, logistics, and light infrastructure. The Fund’s focus on middle market companies drives small and medium enterprise(“SME”) development, which in turn positions each investment to have the maximum transformational impact for the Namibian economy.


“Private Equity Will Flourish Where Strategic Investors Won’t Go”

William Jimerson, “private equity will flourish where strategic investors won’t go”.

William Jimerson at SuperReturn Africa 2015, at the Mövenpick Ambassador in Accra.

Musa Group Corporate Essentials Feature

Watch Musa Group CEO, Will Jimerson talk  entrepreneurship‬, ‪the importance of impacting lives‬ when doing business, and success‬, all fundamental focus areas for the Musa Group.

Why Millennials Should Look Into Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship - The road less travelled

Entrepreneurship – The road less travelled

As is reflected in South Africa’s alarming level of youth unemployment, one of the biggest challenges facing Millennials is finding a job. With the need to create more new employers and more opportunities for others, should Millennials be following the path to entrepreneurship?

ACCORDING to the 2014 GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP MONITOR (GEM) SOUTH AFRICA REPORT, 7.0% of the adult population in South Africa is engaged in entrepreneurship, while 2.7% already own or manage an established business. It also reveals that for every 10 adult males engaged in entrepreneurship there are eight females.
From this report we also learn that the typical South African entrepreneur is male, between the ages of 25 and 44, lives in an urban area, is involved in the retail and wholesale sector, and has a secondary or tertiary level of education.

Based on the report’s findings, it is safe to say that South Africa needs more male and female Millennials (born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) to consider starting businesses. The reason for this is that the biggest challenge this group faces is finding jobs and/or opportunities, hence the alarming level of youth unemployment.

Education plays a significant role in starting a new business and Millennials, unlike generations before, have more access to education. Moreover, Millennials are tech savvy and possess IT skills that are a must have for any business start-up. Currently, 28% of South Africans start businesses because they do not have another option for work – they are known as ‘necessity entrepreneurs’.

In this day and age, we need to create more new employers that will create more job opportunities for others. The challenge begins after graduation when the majority of graduates opt to seek employment instead of starting a business. Some graduates even settle for career paths different from their field of academic study, while others eventually give up and end up sitting at home. Our society is in dire need of ‘opportunity entrepreneurs’ who can identify an opportunity to start a growing business that, in return, will create employment for others.

The majority of Millennials are risk takers and dream chasers, willing to make mistakes and learn from them. A generation that has been constantly overcoming obstacles and has gained tremendous amounts of bravery, boldness and confidence growing up. This generation is distinctive and open minded. Millennials believe in lifelong self-development and growth. A wealth of information is available at the Entrepreneurs Growth Centre (0861 SMEFIN) for this purpose.

Millennials are also entering into what THE FUTURE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP: MILLENNIALS AND BOOMERS CHART THE COURSE FOR 2020 REPORT refers to as the traditional ‘peak age’ bracket – around 40 – for entrepreneurship.

Millennials are resilient, assertive go-getters and fall into the 35.5% of adults in South Africa who identify good opportunities to start businesses. This compared to 25.4% of adults who are prevented from starting businesses because of fear of failure.

A prosperous future for Millennials in entrepreneurship begins with establishing a locally desirable idea, ensuring it is clear and simple for people to understand, it is relevant and provides a needed service or product, and that they identify mentorship from knowledgeable and supportive people. It is of utmost importance to maintain focus on acquiring and maintaining customers by fulfilling on a promise to provide a quality product at a value proposition. Following this mantra will allow the entrepreneur to do good for the community in which they operate while doing well (making financial, social and emotional profit) for themselves.


Musa Group Launched as Founding Firm, Musa Capital, Celebrates 20 Years of Growth

Musa Group Announcement

Boutique advisory and private equity firm adds shareholders and operational entities to increase its capacity to make a social impact

Musa Group Launched

Musa Group Launched

After 20 years of successful financial advisory and private equity activity in Africa, creating both wealth and value for communities at the base of the pyramid through impact investment, boutique firm Musa Capital has added capacity by institutionalising itself through the acquisition of commercial and industrial operations and taking on new shareholders.

The resultant Musa Group is now a diversified trading and operating company with products and services in areas key to the transformation of South Africa and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa: Housing, manufacturing, retail finance, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), and agriculture. The Group retains its original private equity and financial advisory divisions.
Its operating divisions are former investee companies of the Musa Kubu Fund in which Musa Capital directors played pivotal roles at board level in structuring the companies for growth by delivering essential products and services to grass roots communities.

“Our close association with these companies gives us confidence in their ability to deliver further value to us as the Musa Group and to society as a whole,” says Musa Group CEO, Will Jimerson, one of the founders and directors of Musa Capital. “We bought them out of the Fund because of their close fit with our future strategy.”
Management has a stake in the new Musa Group and other shareholders include BEE groupings and large investment institutions.

“Our Group mission is to develop Africa through inspired leadership – by growing businesses that provide relevant products and services made in Africa, for Africans, by Africans,” Jimerson says. “We have, therefore, involved ourselves with shareholders who have the same mission and will support our actualisation of it.

Musa’s track record In the past 20 years includes investments in Ecobank, UBA in Nigeria, and Sonatel in Senegal, all in the mid and late 1990s. One of the Group’s operating companies has a track record of feeding over 1.2 million school children a day throughout South Africa. Another division has been responsible for building over 3 000 middle income housing units for mining industry employees in the Northern Cape.

“In the past two decades we’ve proved just how much can be achieved with high levels of innovation and comparatively few resources,” Jimerson says. “Having additional skills on board now, via our operating divisions, enables us to scale significantly the transformational effect of our entrepreneurialism. In addition, with the institutional backing of our shareholders along with the company’s larger organisational footprint, we’ve broadened our access to project capital. “All of which positions us to improve the quality of life for at least 5 million Africans within the next five years.”

The Musa Group is made up of four divisions. The FinServe Group provides, among other retail financial services, insurance and pension-backed housing loans.
The Skyward Group, which is the country’s only manufacturer of uPVC windows and doors, provides low cost housing as well as the finance for people to rent to buy the houses it builds.
The AFH Group, which owns a number of Spar retail outlets in KwaZulu-Natal, has established an integrated value chain that incorporates products from small scale farmers in the delivery of fresh produce to Spar outlets around the country.
Musa Capital will carry forward the company’s original and rapidly expanding advisory and private equity business.

Lumkile Mondi, former chief economist of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), is non-executive chairman of the Musa Group.

Musa Capital Sponsored Bakubung Student Excels At M.I.T



South Africa’s export-driven economy is highly dependent on good road and air transportation, so the country’s government recently sent 30 fast-rising transport managers, mostly in their 30s and 40s, to MIT for a specially developed five-day professional education programme. What was also special about these managers was that most of them had grown up in disadvantaged communities with limited educational, social, and employment opportunities under the apartheid era. They brought with them a passion for learning and an infectious collegial spirit, and they became an inspiration for their MIT Professional Education faculty, making the summer week in Cambridge a transformative experience for all involved.Professor Joel Schindall, director of the MIT Engineering Leadership Program, and Blade Kotelly, lecturer in the same program, taught several sessions on design thinking and innovation.

“This group, more than any I’ve worked with, was so open, so excited,” said Kotelly. “They had such a strong desire to learn, and to modify the way their organizations operate, and they were very quick to realize that you can innovate on any level, even the smallest thing, and make a difference.”After a day of classroom work on design principles, Kotelly gave the students MBTA subway passes, and sent them on an evening photo scavenger hunt. “I asked them to find examples of good and bad design — door handles, turnstiles, street signs,” he says. “They took photos and shared them via Twitter; the next morning we went through and talked about what made them good or bad in various contexts.”

“That exercise gave our students the opportunity to immediately engage with the excellent transportation system in Cambridge in absolute safety and security,” notes Hazel Bagley, strategic business development manager at the Regenesys Business School in Johannesburg, which oversees the educational program on behalf of South Africa’s Transport Education and Training Authority. “That alone led to new insights; consciously scanning your surroundings gives a completely fresh perspective.”Student Sibongili Magagula, a senior logistics controller, commented on how Boston and Cambridge have put “so much effort into encouraging walking and cycling, and catering to old and disabled people. Adapting some of these features will help solve some of the challenges we face in South Africa.”Classmate Virginiah Hlungwani, who works as an operations and technical assistant, said the program experience “has added a value in my life, it expanded my knowledge and taught me to handle challenges in any environment. After the course I felt in my spirit that I have gained self-confidence.”

Professor Schindall, commenting on his experience, said, “From the moment I walked into the classroom and met the students, the program was inspiring. The students were engaged, active, participative, thoughtful, and wonderfully supportive of each other. If I had to pick a single word, I would say they were a delight to work with.”The program’s content, which also included operations management, was developed over an eight-month period by Tish Miller, MIT Professional Education’s director of academic programs, in consultation with Bagley. Together they ensured that the material would have immediate and lasting value for the students, who were selected on criteria including managerial experience (3-5 years), employment in operations or supply chain management, and identification as strong candidates for senior management roles in the near future.“I’ve worked on many programs at MIT over the years,” says Miller. “What made this collaboration stand out was the level of gratitude both the participants and the faculty had for each other. Both groups shared how much they were learning from each other and appreciated working together. It made for a very fulfilling experience for all.”The program, MIT Professional Education’s first with South Africa, came about as a result of the unit’s strategic objective of creating greater engagement with professionals from the world’s major emerging economies. Executive director Bhaskar Pant, who was himself born in one of South Africa’s neighboring countries, Zambia, noted, “There is hunger in rapidly developing economies for the kind of expertise MIT can provide, and it is so satisfying when you witness such joyful participation and adoption of learning as we saw in this program. We look forward to organizing more such mission-centric endeavors in the future.”

Schindall praised the program’s mission of developing the skills of workers from disadvantaged communities who have demonstrated initiative, leadership skills, and potential in the workforce. “I think it’s well-conceived and hope it will be enormously successful,” he says. While no firm plans are in place yet, Regenesys and MIT Professional Education are in discussions about additional offerings down the road.Whitehead Institute Professor Hazel Sive, founding director of the MIT–South Africa program and herself a South African, gave a brief talk at a program reception, and noted how the interaction there exemplified the two-way value of working with practitioners from around the globe. “Making connections between MIT and South African colleagues through this type of exchange is clearly to our mutual benefit,” she said.

A post-program note to Pant, Bagley, and Regenesys director William Vivian offered a summary of the student perspective. “We learned about mind and hand but equally we were encouraged to be ourselves and we were heard,” they wrote. “We were heard when we asked questions, we were heard when we sang and danced. Not once did we experience anything but unconditional acceptance of who we truly are, and that is MIT’s trump card. When you are accepted in this way you … open your mind to accepting ideas and ways of doing things that you might never have thought of before.”

Picture:Sibongile Magagula at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T)

Musa Capital Blazes Investment Trail In Agriculture


New agricultural division will harness regional and global capital to boost food production and create a more sustainable agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa

In a break from traditional funding of agriculture exclusively through public sector spending, NGOs and global capital, Musa Capital, will work with regional capital in the form of pension funds and in-country investment institutions to build a sub-Saharan African agricultural value chain company focused on ensuring regional food security and enhancing capacity among small scale farmers.

Through an agricultural investment company Musa Capital Agriculture (“MCA”), Musa will give investors a long-term horizon for generating wealth for themselves by ensuring better distribution of finance and improved market access to farmers at the base of the pyramid.

MCA will invest in production, processing, distribution, and logistics across multiple geographies.

“As we do with our other investment portfolios, with MCA we will focus on driving synergies that will ensure sustainability for all the components of the agricultural operations in which we invest,” says Musa Capital co-founder and director, Will Jimerson.

“For instance, we will develop or acquire large scale farms to which we will add professional management and processing plants through which the primary production units can increase their share of the consumer’s wallet.

“However, the large scale farms will only account for a portion of the processing plant’s capacity. We will engage with small scale farmers to purchase their off-take and, where feasible, take a stake in the processing business.

“The small scale farmers will also have access to the bigger farms’ equipment, participate in bulk purchasing of seeds, fertilizers, and livestock, and, through the processing plant, gain access to local and international markets that, because of their small output, would otherwise not be interested in them.”

Jimerson says that the MCA agricultural platform would not function as a traditional co-operative, where the producers are also the off-takers and where members’ financial benefits are limited to the prices the off-takers can negotiate with their usual markets.

“MCA’s marketing, distribution, and logistics will be managed by an experienced commercial team. Any farmers, distributors, and logistics companies that become part of the MCA investment portfolio will, therefore, participate in the larger return on investment that the umbrella organisation generates .”

Synergies among MCA portfolio companies will be fully exploited, with, for example, local logistics organisations being guaranteed the transportation of portfolio farmers’ produce and farmers benefitting from special prices from the logistics companies.

“In addition, the fact that MCA will operate across borders will make b oth MCA and its participants more sustainable,” Jimerson says. “For example, temporary adverse political, socio-economic and climatic conditions that may limit output in one region or country will be offset by beneficial conditions in other.

“From a financial perspective, this significantly reduces one of the most serious risks to agriculture and the organisations that fund it. It will therefore encourage institutions that would otherwise not consider investing in agriculture to put their toes in the water. And this will boost food production and, therefore, food security.

“A Pan-African set-up also expands the type and quantity of markets that are available to the agricultural operations. From the perspective of African unity, this is a powerful mechanism by means of which Africans can help Africans.”

Musa Capital’s MCA investment platform will become operational in South Africa in the second half of 2013. It will expand into sub-Saharan Africa, where it has relationships with a number of national ministries of agriculture and in-country investors, during 2014.

Will Jimerson: Meeting Simple Needs


William Jimerson

Will Jimerson got his first taste of entrepreneurship in the mid-1990s, after completing an electrical engineering degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spending two years in merchant banking with Merrill Lynch.

He was invited to become finance director of a new business bidding for mobile phone licences in New York. It flopped, as it did not have sufficient capital. When competitors were bidding US$500m for licences, his company could barely scrape together $100m.

But in the process, Jimerson met his future partners, Antoine Johnson and Meredith Marshall. In 1995, Zimbabwean entrepreneur Shingi Mutasa persuaded them to set up a pan-African telecom fund. The business was called Musa Capital.

Musa was able to establish its first fund thanks almost entirely to one benefactor, Saudi business magnate Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Labelled the Arabian Warren Buffett by Time magazine, Al-Waleed is the largest private investor in Citigroup and owns luxury hotels in London, Paris and New York.

The prince’s holding company, Kingdom Holdings, provided $30m for Musa Capital Fund 1, and its brief was extended from telecoms to banking and other sectors such as property.

Running the fund from New York made it tougher to take a hands-on approach, Jimerson says with the benefit of hindsight. It focused on lower-risk, big brand investments (by African standards) such as Sonatel in Senegal, MTN Uganda and Ecobank. It also invested in Mutasa’s Joina Centre skyscraper in central Harare.

Musa looked set for a far bigger Fund 2 when it partnered Alliance Capital, the $400bn-plus fund manager, to launch Africa funds. It won the bid to manage a $350m Africa infrastructure fund for the Overseas Private Investment Corp, an arm of the US government. The deal was signed in August 2001, but a few weeks later, after September 11, the venture was considered too risky.

Soon after that, Musa Capital moved to Africa and opened its Johannesburg head office in 2005. It expanded its business by offering advisory services and investment management.

But it took until 2008 to set up the R575m Musa Kubu Fund, which looked beyond big business to the “missing middle” — the neglected area between big business and survivalist businesses that are targeted by aid agencies.

The fund’s largest investor is the Bakubung Ba-Ratheo community in the North West. Musa enabled the Bakubung to monetise their R575m holding in the Wesizwe platinum corporation.

Its proceeds are used by the Bakubung Economic Development Unit — which has invested more than R60m in community projects — and the asset and investment arm, the Bakubung Community Development Corp.

Several parties wanted to get their hands on this money and Jimerson says there were court cases but the litigation has come to an end.

“We have some very high-impact businesses, including the largest house builder in the Northern Cape. We concentrate on simple businesses allowing people to eat, be housed, get transport and have access to financial services in a more meaningful way than if we, say, owned Group Five shares.”

BY STEPHEN CRANSTON, 04 JULY 2014 – FM Edition: July 4 – 2014