Q&A: Diamond and Thakkar Discuss Atlas Mara’s $265m Bank Deal

Initial investor response to Atlas Mara’s plans was enthusiastic. Coco Ferguson, a partner at $50m East Africa-based investment group Maris Capital, said growth in sub-Saharan Africa had been stymied by local banks’ limited interest in lending to small businesses: “Typically, all loans need 100% asset or land backing,” she said. “If this new bank takes a different approach, it could unleash a whole new life for small businesses in Africa. I can’t wait!”

Read the full piece on the Wall Street Journal’s website.

Hardwood to help South Sudan wean itself from oil dependence

One of the hardest woods in the world may help to soften the effects of conflict over oil in East Africa.

Equatoria Teak Company (ETC), a forestry group based in South Sudan, plans to start shipping the wood from the East African nation within two months, helping the country diversify away from its dependence on oil.

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VC firm reaps first-mover benefits in South Sudan

The venture capital group has been involved in a number of projects in the region and has established an office in Juba, capital city of South Sudan, in order to develop relationships with local partners and better manage its work there.

Maris Capital’s involvement in the landlocked country, which requires significant infrastructure development following its independence, includes investment in a diverse range of young businesses.

Read the full article on Frontier Market Network’s site.