Download the 20th Anniversary Compendium

Foreword When the very first conference delegates convened twenty years ago, it was unclear if their efforts— investing in fledging businesses across unchartered territories—even constituted an asset class. Private equity in emerging markets was nascent, and virtually no data existed. These early pioneers showed up because they knew the potential was great: add value to promising companies operating in frontier economies in order to help them tap into the vast consumer markets in which they were based, and ultimately it would generate strong returns. But they needed guidance as well as connections. What were the best practices for this type of investment? Who else was doing similar work? Which institutional investors were interested in learning more? Which strategies have been successful and, maybe more importantly, which haven’t? As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Global Private Equity Conference, hosted by IFC in association with EMPEA, we continue to reflect on some of these same questions. But one is indisputable—emerging markets private equity is indeed an asset class, and one that has matured at a rate that may have been unimaginable to those original 30 delegates. Over the last two decades, private equity has spread from the initial markets of interest, China, India and Brazil, to countries as varied as Kenya, Egypt, Ukraine, Turkey, Colombia and Myanmar, to name just a few. Strategies have expanded to include private credit, mezzanine and venture capital, while the pool of institutional investors continues to grow beyond the development finance institutions—which were critical to any fund operating in those early days—to include pension funds, family offices, foundations, endowments, insurance companies and funds of funds. While the core focus of the industry continues to evolve, best practices have become paramount, together with environmental, social and governance initiatives, as well as a growing understanding of all the ways in which private capital impacts local emerging market communities. Against this backdrop, we felt it was an opportune time to take stock of the industry from the perspective of those on the frontlines. We have asked 21 leading practitioners to expound on the latest trends and developments across the industry as well as within their particular markets and sectors of expertise. These thought leadership contributions, which tie to the theme of this year’s conference, Shaping the Investment Frontier: Inspiring Innovation & Impact, showcase the ways in which private equity investors have led development across the emerging markets while simultaneously generating returns. We would like to express our gratitude to these contributors for taking the time to share their insights with us. We would also like to thank you for celebrating this 20th anniversary with us. From its humble origins to this incomparable annual global gathering of over 850 investment professionals from more than 60 countries, we are proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to what is yet to come. Thank you for your contributions to the discussions over the next few days. We hope you enjoy the conference as well as this Compendium. Download the full compendium here. Sincerely, Maria Kozloski, Global Head and Chief Investment Officer, Private Equity Funds, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Rob Petty, Chairman of the Board of Directors, EMPEA Managing Partner and Co-founder, Clearwater Capital Partners