BY CHARLES ABUEDE
CardinalStone Capital Advisers (CCA), a leading West-Africa focused private equity fund manager, has appointed Shirley Somuah as a partner to lead expansion into Ghana for the company as it strengthens its presence in Ghana with a new office opening in Accra in the second quarter.
This will be CCA’s first physical presence in Ghana and will support the fund manager’s current portfolio, as well as deepen relationships with entrepreneurs in the country. Somuah joins current partners, Yomi Jemibewon and Femi Ogunjimi, as the company takes an important additional step toward institutionalisation by strengthening its leadership bench.
Somuah has over a decade of experience spanning management consulting and investing, and has been integral to the firm’s activities in both Nigeria and Ghana during her tenure at CCA, the company said in a statement.
Prior to CCA, Shirley was a vice president on the Principal Investments team at CardinalStone Partners, and before that was a management consultant with Oliver Wyman, serving clients in North America, the Middle East and Africa from New York and Dubai offices.
She holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a BSc. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. She chairs the board of the non-profit, West Africa Vocational Education.
However, from the time when CCA’s launched in 2016, she has been part of the investment team managing the $64 million CCA Growth Fund (CCAGF), which targets growth-stage SMEs in Nigeria and Ghana.
Shirley Somuah, while commenting on her new role as partner at CCA says, “This new role is incredibly exciting for me, and I am thrilled to be joining Yomi and Femi as a partner at CCA. I am passionate about transformational impact at scale and look forward to working with more growth-stage companies in the coming years. We’ve always considered ourselves as entrepreneurs and venture builders as investors, and we are not afraid to roll up our sleeves for more challenging businesses – this model and unique approach to PE investing has delivered significant results for CCA.
“I am also proud of CCA’s commitment to gender balance in the PE and investment space in Africa; we have one of the more gender-balanced leadership teams, with 30 percent of partners and 30 percent of the overall leadership team being women.”
Also, Femi Ogunjimi of CCA says, “We are delighted to be confirming Shirley in her role as a partner at CCA. Her track record when it comes to sourcing, analysing and executing deals is peerless and thanks to her wealth of experience in the West African market, she has a unique perspective on the entrepreneurial and investment landscape we operate in.”
In addition, Yomi Jemibewon adds, “Shirley’s role at CCA extends beyond her strengths as an investment professional. She was one of the earliest team members in our Principal Investments days and an integral part of our transition to private equity. Her leadership and mentorship have contributed significantly to building the team and institution we have today.”
Meanwhile, CCA Growth Fund has made four investments to date and portfolio companies include i-Fitness, Quality Foods Africa, and Afya Care. The fund also made its first institutional investment into fintech in 2021, leading the $10 million Series A round for Nigerian fintech software provider, Appzone. The CCA team is now looking to double down on leveraging and embedding innovative technologies for its real sector portfolio companies, as it looks to see how tech can help these businesses scale and improve operational efficiencies while also creating tangible impact.