Actis appoints West Africa head

The emerging markets giant has hired Ngozi Edozien, who last year founded the Equity Vehicle for Health in Africa.

Emerging markets private equity fund manager Actis has beefed up its Africa-focused team with the appointment of Ngozi Edozien as its head of West Africa. Edozien joins Actis having been the founding chief executive of Equity Vehicle for Health in Africa, a health-focused fund founded last year and backed by World Bank Group member IFC and the Gates Foundation.

Having closed its third fund emerging markets fund on $2.9 billion in December, Actis is sitting on one of the largest pools of private equity capital with the potential to be deployed in Africa.

Edozien has previously held positions in investment banks JPMorgan and Solomon Brothers and consultancy McKinsey, as well as spending three years as regional director for pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer in Lagos. She replaces Simon Harford, who moves to Johannesburg as the head of Actis’s portfolio group for Africa and Latin America, and will report to Actis’ Africa head Peter Schmid.

Actis has a number of private equity investments in West Africa, including Nigerian bank Diamond, in which Actis invested $134 million in what was second largest private equity transaction in the country’s history.

Nigeria is also home to Actis’ $40 million development project Palms Mall, a 12-acre shopping mall and cinema complex. The investment, which Actis exited in 2007, provoked some controversy among observers who believed a shopping mall that would serve only Nigeria’s  wealthiest residents showed that Actis – until recently owned by UK government-backed fund of funds CDC Group – had lost sight of its development mission.