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Welcome to fastafrica

fastafrica provides intelligence on African markets. We strive to identify the fastest and most creative companies and the most promising investment projects. We connect these ventures with buyers, capital and the right expertise. We assist with due diligence and offer deep insights into rapidly evolving economies.

fastafrica ltd. is a young company beginning to build a portfolio of clients. We believe that the continent is alive with untapped opportunity. Our mission is to help unlock the growth potential of exciting African ventures by opening new networks and new markets. In Now is the time to invest in Africa we argue that Africa is ready for business. Our pitch was published in the Harvard Business Review’s Breakthrough List of Ideas 2009 and appeared in leading business magazines around the world.

Africa’s economic potential remains largely untapped. A wealth of opportunity exists outside of oil and mining. Consider Ghana: the country’s software industry boosts cutting edge solutions from biometric payment systems to fast mobile internet platforms.

The high returns generated by these companies are not an isolated anecdote. Our published analysis of 15,000 emerging market companies shows that attractive profits are made across the continent. Mobile phone companies, apparel manufacturers, construction firms, call centers and consumer brands have done well in environments traditionally shunned by global business. The IMF predicts economic growth of 4 percent for Africa in 2010, again exceeding the growth rate of the global economy as a whole.  Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are among the countries expected to grow 5 percent or more.

Global capital has largely ignored these opportunities. Finance remains scarce. Low expectations, a dismal reputation, high entry barriers and poor information mean that promising ventures are often not realized. Companies that are profitable often lack the funds and global market exposure to scale-up operations. High capital costs and borrowing constraints, red tape, weak property rights and a limited skill base currently depress growth and hamper the creation of much needed jobs. These constraints are likely to ease significantly as evidence of viable business opportunities shift expectations of an increasing group of entrepreneurs in favor of these markets. fastafrica hopes to contribute to this shift in expectations.

Jean-Louis Warnholz
Co-founder and Managing Director

Jean-Louis focuses on the nascent economic potential of low-income markets. He recently advised the Haitian Prime Minister on a strategy to create 150,000 jobs through investments in untapped opportunities in manufacturing, agribusiness and tourism, an effort supported by former President Clinton, Secretary of State Clinton and George Soros among others. Previous clients include the Soros Economic Development Fund, Standard & Poor’s, the World Bank, UNDP and the Department for International Development (DFID).

Jean-Louis’ work has been published in the Harvard Business Review with his papers ‘Even the Poorest Can Be a Thriving Market’ (May 2008) and ‘Now is the Time to Invest in Africa’ (Breakthrough List of Ideas, February 2009), jointly written with Paul Collier. Jean-Louis holds a Masters degree with Distinction in Economics for Development from Oxford University, where he was awarded a scholarship and the George Webb Medley Prize in Economics. Leading German weekly DIE ZEIT selected him as one of 12 global ‘Architects of the Future’ and he has recently been named a fellow of the Global Economic Symposium.  

Jim Cust
Co‐founder and Creative Director.

Jim focuses on the economics of developing countries and innovative solutions to climate change. He currently works as an advisor on the Natural Resource Charter as part of the Oxford based International Growth Center. He has conducted extensive fieldwork assessing the economic opportunities arising from sustainable energy projects in poor countries, such as small‐scale renewable electricity systems. His findings have been published in Energy Economics and other journals. He previously worked at the Cambridge Department of Economics on mechanisms to foster low carbon development in poor countries. He holds a First Class degree in Economics from Cambridge and a Masters degree with Distinction from Oxford University.  

Trusted information
is the heartbeat that makes economies function. These vital insights often come at a steep price, are inaccurate or simply unavailable. fastafrica bridges this information gap. We work with African clients on developing a transparent company profile and performance measures that open new possibilities. And we use our understanding of emerging African economies to advise foreign companies and investors keen to expand into Africa. 

High-visibility allows innovative companies to reach new markets across Africa and overseas.  We work with clients to showcase their services and products and explore new sources of finance at home and abroad. 

Due diligence is costly in environments where formal credit reporting is absent and standardized, audited accounts are not yet the norm. This means that private equity and banks tend to focus solely on larger projects. fastafrica makes it easier to report what matters to prospective clients and investors and safely stores this information in a secure virtual data room.

Tapping the right expertise is vital to the growth of companies in markets like Ghana, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. We partner with leading business schools and can arrange 6-12 months placements of experienced and versatile executive MBAs looking for a new challenge.

We look forward to hearing from you. We are always excited to learn about innovative new ventures changing the game in emerging African markets. And we continually look for companies and funds keen to invest in these markets. Let us know if we can play a part in making it happen.


fastafrica ltd.

Clarendon House

52 Cornmarket Street



Email: contact@fastafrica.com

Phone: +44 1865 304008

Fax: +44 1865 304001