Former banker Guillaume Arditti has launched his own advisory firm, Belvedere Advisory, based in Paris. The firm specialises in African markets, with an emphasis on Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt, and provides direct investment and fund raising support to clients in different industries, as well as strategic advisory services to French and European firms wishing to expand their development in the continent.

To Arditti, the African markets represent a way to grow out of the sluggish European economy: “We [in Europe] need growth and take risks again and find new markets. It is the time to make things happen for certain projects in Africa,” he tells GTR. He set up the firm having spotted a funding gap for projects in Africa following international bank’s “still rather conservative” attitude towards risk in the continent. According to Arditti, local banks are able to raise a lot of funds and are growing quite significantly, but they encounter difficulties with the longer maturities. “With the development of alternative sources of funding, particularly private equity, the challenge will be now to find the right projects to fund, and in which way to structure the financings,” he says.

Belvedere Advisory does not yet have a website, but Arditti has already started working through his personal contacts. “I am in contact with big companies in Africa and in Europe. Throughout my experience I’ve been working different transactions with rather significant companies in Africa, but now I’m already receiving offers from different contacts for smaller projects – that’s where there is potential, especially for private equity funds,” he says.

Before setting up the firm, Guillaume was managing director of BNP Paribas’ energy and commodity finance platform, where he focused on strategy and development for Africa. He previously headed the Africa desk within the commodity structured debt department at Natixis, which followed several years in the financing of commodities trading. Guillaume started his career 15 years ago in South Africa, with the French Development Agency.