Africa’s venture capital sector ‘still very much a man’s world’


TLcom Capital’s latest case study on female fund managers in Africa has concluded that the African venture capital (VC) sector is still male dominated and that this affects the quality of the sector’s investments and ability to be more impactful.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the company notes that female fund managers are a minority in the world with only 9% of decision-makers in the United States being women.

“In Africa, no definitive numbers are yet available, but female fund managers are hard to come by – a big mistake for the VC world, as data clearly demonstrates a direct link between gender diversity in teams, and increased profitability,” adds the venture capital firm.

Read: Private equity makes progress on gender equity

Former Nigerian minister of communication technology Dr Omobola Johnson, who is a senior partner at TLcom Capital, says there are not enough women operating in the African venture capital landscape in general.

“It’s tough, it’s still very much a man’s world. You have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to be a successful female partner in the world of VC.”

Johnson says VC companies should ensure that women who show promise are given “stretch” assignments, visibility, and mentoring.

Partner at TLcom Capital Andreata Muforo says companies need to remove both conscious and unconscious biases that lead to gender-imbalanced teams.

Read: Where women see bias, men see a ‘pipeline problem’

She adds that barriers to entry persist for many women who are employed at VC companies, hindering them from flourishing in the field due to gender biases or the lack of conducive working environments.

“There [are] a number of things to think about, but really there are not enough female fund managers on the continent,” she says.

The two partners believe gender diversity works well for funds and relevant investors attributing better results to more gender-balanced management teams.

Read: The hot new trend for hedge funds is – finally – female founders

Muforo says having a diverse team, including people of different races and experiences, garners diversity in thought and ideas. “If you have four people around the table with different experiences, you’re able to make better decisions. And this is something where studies have been done that show that funds with more balance, in terms of gender, perform better.”

Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.

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