Emad Barsoum from Ezdehar Management, an Egyptian first-time fund manager seeking investment, approached us in 2015. Economic uncertainty stemming from the Arab Spring had caused commercial investors to step away from Egypt. This lack of capital in the country, along with the Ezdehar team’s potential, meant we opened discussions with Emad and his team.
“An institution like CDC is one of the first to come into a country like Egypt and invest. I had prior working experience with CDC when I worked for another African fund manager, whose fund CDC invested in. I appreciated that relationship. They were very supportive and very straight.”
Emad Barsoum, Ezdehar Management
How we supported Ezdehar
Before we invested, we spent time with the Ezdehar team discussing their vision, carefully reviewing their proposal, and making suggestions on how it could be improved. Emad says: “The experience we had with CDC was extremely positive and the team was very pragmatic and offered amazing support. They were very open in their feedback on what was good and what needed improvement in our proposal.”
As this was the first fund raised by Ezdehar, we took an active role in working with other limited partners. This was appreciated by Emad and his team: “CDC took the time to talk with the other investors and bring divergent points of view together”.In many cases, Ezdehar needed someone to negotiate between the other investors and come up with mutually agreeable solutions, and we were happy to on this responsibility.
Since committing to the fund in 2016, we’re now working with Ezdehar to provide guidance on implementing environmental, social, and governance plans, as well as introducing them to other investors in the region. “CDC has already connected us with other fund managers who are interested in investing in Egypt. We’re happy that CDC sees us as a trusted partner in Egypt,” says Emad.