When I heard about the US investor, Gabriel Schulze, who’d gone out on a limb and started up Ethiopia’s first private equity fund, I couldn’t wait to meet him.
The feeling wasn’t mutual. Famously reticent, it took me more than a year to convince him to meet me. But when we did, we ending up busting our two-hour time slot over tea and coffee at a private members’ club in London and speaking for six hours. You can now read the interview from that meeting, Portrait of a frontier investor, on FT.com.
Schulze (pictured below) says he prefers to speak only after he’s taken action. It’s clear plenty of others have already noticed, even if he says some thought he was “nuts” at first.
even years after he started looking at investing in Ethiopia, today private equity is queuing up to get into one of the world’s largest untapped markets with only the most nascent of private sectors. Ethiopian authorities restrict foreign investment into the fast-growing economy of 90m people, especially in retail, banking and telecommunications – all critical sectors for investors looking for scale and keen to tap Africa’s galloping growth story. Despite the restrictions, many are keen to find even the tiniest toe-hold in the nation ahead of liberalisation they hope will come one day, some day in the future.