In October 2020 Maris CEO and co-founder Charlie Tryon sat down with Betsy G. Henderson from How we made it in Africa to talk about investment opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. They also discussed the Maris experience of doing business in frontier markets such as Zimbabwe and South Sudan.
The interview explored:
- Agriculture as a key investment sector for Maris, through its subsidiary company Agris and, from an investment perspective, which agribusiness sub-sectors in Africa offer the best opportunities.
- If there were any African agribusiness sub-sectors in which Maris is hesitant to invest.
- Some of the agribusiness trends Maris see in sub-Saharan Africa.
- What is it like to do business in countries some investors consider to be risky environments, for example South Sudan and Zimbabwe.
- Other sectors, besides agribusiness, in which Maris sees opportunities
- The African country that Charlie is most optimistic about.
- Maris’ most successful investment to date.
- Some of the investment lessons that Charlie and the Maris team have learnt over the years.
Charlie highlighted that “Investors should not view Africa holistically. The continent is made up of 54 countries, thousands of languages and different people who think in different ways, and you have to take a very individualistic approach to every opportunity, and really think about all the risks and how they work. You cannot take a cookie-cutter approach to Africa – something that works in one country will not necessarily work in another. There’s a lot of local idiosyncrasies that you have to understand, and in general, sub-Saharan Africa is not an easy place to invest.”
“However, when you look at all the complications in the world today, Africa is well-positioned, if you take a long-term view.”