MENA Private Equity Association Launches at DIFC

Dubai, 22 January 2012

The MENA Private Equity Association announced its official launch at the Dubai International Finance Centre this week.

The Association is a platform for facilitating more investment by private equity and venture capital funds in the region, exchanging information, and lobbying for a better investment environment.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO, DIFC Authority said: "We welcome MENA Private Equity Association to the Centre. MENA's venture capital industry has grown substantially in recent years, but remains relatively underdeveloped. We look forward to supporting the Association in its endeavors to unlock the great potential in this industry and consequently contribute to economic growth and job creation in the region."

The Association's 25 members, including the largest private equity and venture capital fund managers in the MENA region, combined, have over USD 18 billion in assets under management.

As venture capital activity continues to grow in MENA, the Association is also active in facilitating entrepreneurship and venture capital activity in the region. The focus on this growing trend has been marked with the association's initiative to launch a VC Guide to raise awareness of the industry, as well as a free online directory of VC firms and business incubation services to help fill the information gap.

Skander Oueslati, Senior Partner at AfricInvest-Tuninvest, and member of the Association Steering Committee comments: "The launch comes at a critical time for MENA, as populations throughout the region push for better governance and economic prospects. Job creation and space for entrepreneurship will be fundamental to stability going forward. These social changes are complemented by ongoing shifts in the region's young private equity industry, with fund managers increasingly investing in early stage businesses and growing SMEs."

The Association also works on key research reports and industry data, including the Annual Private Equity and Venture Capital Report, and the MENA Venture Capital Report. The Association has also held industry roundtables focused on in-depth discussions and knowledge sharing on topical issues with experts. These efforts will support investors and their business partners to overcome the current economic challenges in the region and identify future opportunities.

Imad Ghandour, founder and managing partner of CedarBridge Partners and a member of the Association Steering Committee, adds: "The Association is proving to be pivotal for the progress of the private equity industry. It is combining the resources from its members to further the causes of investment and entrepreneurship in the region, and its impact has already been felt on many issues."

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About the MENA Private Equity Association

The MENA Private Equity Association is a non-profit entity committed to supporting and developing the private equity and venture capital industry in the Middle East and North Africa. The Association aims to foster greater communication within the region's private equity and venture capital network and facilitate knowledge sharing in order to encourage overall economic growth, and will actively promote the industry's successes to local stakeholders and build trust with investors, regulators and the public regionally and internationally.

For more information, please visit www.menapea.com