Atlas Mara's unparalleled leadership works hand in hand with local partners to fuel Africa’s growth.
Africa’s strong growth profile is expected to continue, making Africa the fastest growing region in the world over the next few decades. In December 2013, Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Limited (“Atlas Mara” or “the Company”) raised $325 million through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange as an Africa focused entity. There are significant gaps in African markets including the need for capital created by European financial institutions retreating to their home territories at a critical time for growth. This situation presents opportunities for Atlas Mara to execute an acquisition and create a financial institution that provides leadership, liquidity, access to investors, product innovation, and technology to support economic growth and strengthen financial systems on the continent.
Africa represents an exciting frontier market, which is in the early stages of development compared to other emerging markets around the world, such as China. Africa, a large and diverse continent, comprises 54 countries and a landmass that is larger than the United States, China, India, Japan and Western Europe combined.
Trade bloc representing 20 countries across North, East, Central and Southern Africa with a total population of 501 million people. GDP size and growth at $548.5 billion and 2.3% respectively.
Trade bloc representing 10 countries across Central Africa with a total population of 142 million people. GDP size and growth at $224.2 billion and 5.9% respectively.
Trade bloc representing 15 countries across West Africa with a total population of 319 million people. GDP size and growth at $643.1 billion and 6.6% respectively.
Trade bloc representing 15 countries across Southern, East and Central Africa with a total population of 286 million people. GDP size and growth at $648.3 billion and 3.7% respectively.
Trade bloc representing 5 countries across East Africa with a total population of 149 million people. GDP size and growth at $98.4 billion and 5.3% respectively.
Africa's trade blocs are organized to establish grounds for mutual economic development among the majority of African states.
With only 2% mobile penetration in 2000, a growth explosion in Africa has led to a 78% mobile penetration today. However, only 24% of Africans have access to a bank account. This gap presents a huge opportunity to service millions of people who need access to capital through new models.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s real GDP is expected to grow annually by more than 5% until 2018, with a growth in GDP per capita between 2.7% and 3.7% until 2018.
IMF World Economic Outlook 2013,
Mr. Ekpe served as Group Chief Executive Officer (“GCEO”) and Executive Director of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (”Ecobank”) until 2012. Mr Ekpe re-joined Ecobank as GCEO in 2005 having previously been Ecobank’s Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) from 1996 to 2001. Between 2002 and 2003 he served as CEO of United Bank for Africa. From 2004 to 2005 he was a partner at Africa Capital Alliance. He was also previously a non-executive director at UAC Nigeria plc, Dorman Long Engineering and Virgin Nigeria Airways, and non-executive vice-chairman of ADC African Development Corporation AG.
He currently serves as non-executive director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and chairman of its risk committee, non-executive chairman of Cellular Systems International (trading as Wari), non-executive chairman of Africa Strategic Impact Fund, non-executive director of Dangote Flour Mills plc, non-executive chairman of Multiverse Plc, and Honorary President of the Business Council for Africa.
Mr. Ekpe has over 30 years of African and international banking experience, including serving as a vice president and head of Structured Trade and Corporate Finance for sub-Saharan Africa for Citibank. He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from Manchester University and Manchester Business School, respectively.
John joined Atlas Mara from Barclays PLC where he was Chief Executive Officer, Middle East & North Africa since May 2009. In this role he was responsible for all aspects of the company’s activity in the region, including wealth management, retail and business banking, investment and corporate banking and infrastructure. His previous roles at the company included CEO of Absa Capital and COO of Global Markets and COO of Emerging Markets for Barclays Capital.
John joined Barclays in 2002 from Credit Suisse First Boston (“CSFB”), where he had held a number of senior positions in London and New York. These included Director of e-commerce for Emerging Markets, Proprietary Trader for the Emerging Markets Group, Global Head of the Emerging Markets Structured Financing & Repo business and Head of the Emerging Markets Fixed Income Arbitrage Desk.
Prior to CSFB, John worked at Gleacher & Co and Morgan Stanley & Co., in Mergers & Acquisitions and Merchant Banking, respectively. John graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in Finance and International Management. He also served in the United States Marine Corps.
Bob Diamond is Founder and CEO of Atlas Merchant Capital and Co-Founder of Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Ltd. Mr. Diamond was previously Chief Executive of Barclays PLC, and prior to that CEO of Barclays Capital, where he built the investment bank, and Barclays Global Investors, the asset management division of Barclays PLC. Bob also oversaw the integration of Barclays and ABSA’s African business across nine countries in Africa under one brand, and launched the pan-African corporate and investment bank, ABSA Capital. In 2009 ABSA Bank was recognized as the most innovative bank in Africa. Prior to that he worked at Morgan Stanley for over ten years.
Bob is currently involved in several non-profit initiatives. He is Co-Chairman globally and President of the New York Chapter of Invest Africa. He is working with the Atlantic Council and Council on Foreign Relations on instituting an annual lecture on Africa with The Diamond Family Foundation (‘‘DFF’’), where he is a board member. The DFF received the Princeton in Africa award in November of 2013.
Bob graduated from Colby College with a B.A. in Economics and from the University of Connecticut with an MBA. He is Chairman of Board of Trustees of Colby College.
Ashish J. Thakkar is the founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation. Mr. Thakkar started his first IT company in 1996 at the age of 15 in Uganda. Since then, Mr. Thakkar has successfully driven the growth of Mara Group to become a globally recognised multi-sector conglomerate with investments in IT services, manufacturing, agriculture and real estate operations in 21 countries (of which 19 are African) that employ over 8,000 people. Mara Foundation is the social enterprise of Mara Group and focuses on emerging African entrepreneurs. It offers comprehensive support services, including mentorship, funding, incubation centre workspace and business training and aims to help transform entrepreneurs’ business ideas into profitable and thriving business entities.
Mr. Thakkar’s leadership in the field of African business was recognised when he was appointed as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012. Mr. Thakkar also sits on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa and advises certain heads of state in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In September 2013, Ashish was named in Fortune magazine’s ”40 Under 40” list and in November 2013 he was appointed to Dell’s Global Advisory Board, part of the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs.
Tonye Patrick Cole is co-founder and Group Executive Director of Sahara Group, an energy conglomerate founded in 1996 with operations spanning the entire energy chain. The Group operates primarily through 9 operating companies with offices in 8 countries employing approximately 680 direct employees and annual turnover of $10.6 billion (YE2012). In 2013, Sahara’s power subsidiary successfully acquired a total of 2,261MW of generation capacity as well as the distribution company covering half of Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos. He is chiefly responsible for the strategic expansion of the organization’s energy portfolio and is actively involved in developing up-stream opportunities in emerging markets.
In addition to running one of Nigeria’s largest energy conglomerates, Mr. Cole set up the Sahara Foundation and works to inspire the youth of Africa through charities such as his NGO, The Nehemiah Youth Empowerment initiative and Africa 2.0, organizations which aim to influence change in Africa by bringing together young and emerging leaders to develop and implement practical strategies that will produce positive outcomes. In addition, he works closely with a number of foundations in Nigeria including the Down Syndrome Foundation and Slum-2-School project.
Tonye is an architecture graduate from the University of Lagos where he obtained his B.Arch/B.Es degrees.
Rachel F. Robbins served as Vice President and General Counsel of the International Finance Corporation and as a member of its Management Group. Ms. Robbins joined the IFC with three decades of experience in legal and financial services, including extensive experience in corporate governance and in managing global teams through periods of change. Between 2006 and 2008, Ms. Robbins was Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of the New York Stock Exchange and NYSE Euronext. She spent 20 years at JP Morgan & Co., and was General Counsel and Corporate Secretary from 1996 to 2001. From 2003 to 2004 she was General Counsel of Citigroup International.
Ms. Robbins was a founding partner of an international management consulting company focused on the legal industry. She started her legal career at Milbank, Tweed, and Hadley & McCloy. Ms. Robbins is currently a director of FINCA Microfinance Holdings Company, LLC and the New York University School of Law and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Rachel holds a JD from New York University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature from Wellesley College.
The Diamond Family Foundation (“DFF”) is a not-for-profit organisation that is privately funded by Bob Diamond and his family. The foundation is led by his wife, Jennifer Diamond, who is President of DFF. DFF’s principal purpose is to make grants to organisations that provide access to outstanding educational opportunities for those who lack access in the US, UK, and Sub-Saharan Africa. DFF has a special focus on Africa, and supports organisations that span multiple countries on the continent. DFF supports these organisations because of their efforts in working to end the cycles of illiteracy, poverty, hunger, disease, and child labour that plague some in Africa. Additionally, DFF supports organisations whose missions are to strengthen African governments’ capacity to deliver effective programs to the people through public services, infrastructure development, and job creation, and to promote strong political leadership.
Mara Foundation is Mara’s social enterprise that focuses on fostering entrepreneurialism in Africa through a myriad of programmes designed to address the complete life-cycle of an entrepreneur’s business idea. The Foundation works to create sustainable economic and business development opportunities for young entrepreneurs via Mara Mentor, Mara Women and the Mara Ad-Venture Fund. Mara Foundation believes that these support services will play a crucial role in transforming business ideas into reality. These businesses will, in turn, create jobs for other Africans and help build an SME sector that can genuinely contribute to the development of local and pan-African economies. Established in 2009, the Foundation is active in a number of countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria. For more information about Mara Foundation, visit www.mara-foundation.org.
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