The Region

The Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) is entering a “catch-up” phase where multiple growth drivers are coming into play at the same time. These include a demographic dividend, secular growth in commodity prices and increasing value of the region’s natural assets.

The region is heavily endowed with arable land, water, rare minerals, rainforest, “carbon capture”, among other commodities. However, Central Africa has historically been a marginal player in the field of agriculture and industry, especially considering its aggregated demographics and the demand related to its growth and prosperity. Most countries in the region show unusual trade volumes as a percentage of GDP benchmarked to international standards and comparatively low food, health and financial security.

At YAO Corp we see the incredible potential locked in the flourishing commercial sectors of the region and act as the gateway for serious investors looking to work with us to unlock these opportunities.

The YAO Way

YAO Corp believes that regional challenges will be overcome through the identification and amplification of the excellence already existing across the Central African economy.

Our focus is to move away from transactional, extractive investments towards long-lasting strategic partnerships with entrepreneurs and businesses that will grow the commercial ecosystem in the region.

The goal is to generate competitive returns while stimulating economic growth. We do this by growing the private sector while developing human capital to create a new generation of businesses and leaders.

We understand that meaningful economic progress requires strategic collaboration - between private and public sectors, between investors and businesses, between people.

Investment portfolio

YAO Corp has traditionally invested in the Financial, Insurance and Healthcare sectors and is growing its exposure to Technology including Agri, HealthTech, FinTech, EdTech and Technology Infrastructure. We are also scoping opportunities in Higher Education, Logistics, and Clean Energy.

Venture funding

This section of the fund will be limited to Seed to series deals that fill one of the following criteria:

  • Ventures with an experienced founding team
  • Ventures with a developed regional scale up strategy
  • Ventures with a clear path to market dominance and propensity towards a premium pricing model
  • Ventures with a quick pathway to revenue and a low demand for capital ahead of revenue and/or profitability
  • Deals that bring a regional, international VC fund which would benefit from a regional co-investor
  • Later stage Venture (Series C+) where the play is to provide funding to an African Tech player that wants to expand in the region

Growth and turnaround

Yao Corp will fund where there are natural synergies with its existing portfolio across the areas of Technology, Strategy Definition and Governance, and where it can leverage one of more of its

  • Information flow
  • Capital structuring and raising capability
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Talent pool

Depending on the experience of the existing management team, the Office may bring in a Technical Partner to reduce the risk during the high growth phase of capital deployment.

When the investment required is significantly above the average deal sizes, the Office will consider co-investment with either a Technical Partner or an International Fund. In these cases, the Office will consider investment where it is not the “Lead” and where its role will be to assist the management team and the co-investors “navigate” the region, understand the regulatory and fiscal environment, pick the right local partners, etc.

Property and Real Estate

Finally, the Office will expand its investment in property - undeveloped land, residential and commercial, industrial and warehousing - and forest and arable land with a view to participating in the long-term high performance it believes well-selected assets in the region will deliver.

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