ManoCap is an investment and advisory business, founded in Freetown in 2005, that has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunity of working in Sierra Leone. In ManoCap’s view, the key challenge for companies is not producing a compelling business plan – which is relatively straightforward, given the country’s natural advantages and openness to investment – but in executing that plan effectively. This requires competent local management, strong local networks and robust financial controls.
Strong Local Management and Networks
Working alongside a strong group of managers, over the last three years ManoCap has built a portfolio of new service businesses that target existing, but under-served markets. These businesses provide services to the development community and private sector, with the objective of making it easier for others to operate in Sierra Leone.
Frontier Security and Logistics, a security business provides manguarding, generator maintenance and facility management services. AfRecruit is a HR and recruitment business developed to identify the best local talent and, where needed, outsource HR services. Finally, Frontier Research is a research consultancy that provides data collection and technical assistance services to the development community and corporates.
These businesses build on the deep local networks ManoCap has developed in Sierra Leone over the last 14 years, with the aim of helping others avoid the operational pitfalls that exist. In addition, each business has improved the standard of service delivery in the sectors that they serve, while helping other businesses reach scale.
Sierra Fishing Company – Financial Control
ManoCap’s investment in Sierra Fishing Company (SFC), Sierra Leone’s largest fish supplier, provides a good example of the need for strong financial controls. The investment case for Sierra Leone’s fishing sector is clear: 80% of Sierra Leone’s protein intake comes from seafood, and the country’s deep-water location provides an ideal platform.
The seafood trade relies on the daily catch, and therefore involves a very fast turnover both of product and of cash. This makes it critical to monitor inventory and cash at all times. By working closely with SFC and ensuring oversight of its financial functions, and investing in SFC’s distribution networks across the country, ManoCap has seen SFC’s revenues triple since its investment. In the meantime, the cost of fish to the consumer has fallen, and SFC has grown its employee numbers.
ManoCap continues to source investments in Sierra Leone, and has a positive outlook on the country’s prospects. The team cautions that investing in Sierra Leone – and making an investment successful – is not easy. But with commitment and patience, Sierra Leone can be an attractive investment climate.
ManoCap is an investment and advisory business operating in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana. It aims to build a profitable portfolio of businesses while enhancing economic growth in the countries in which it operates. Being based in Freetown, ManoCap is able to provide support both via capital investment and through close ongoing working relationships with investee companies. Leveraging ManoCap’s extensive experience, the company’s advisory arm helps other investors identify, assess and execute on investments in Sierra Leone and elsewhere in West Africa.