“I was born in South Africa and have lived in Japan and East Africa. I enjoy being a global citizen among peers and I like building something meaningful for the future – whether it’s the largest wind farm in Central America, or improving energy distribution in Uganda.”
Paul has always had a thirst for travel and an intense curiosity about foreign lands. He and his family spent several years living in Tokyo and Nairobi; his time in Africa stands out as an important experience in his personal journey and has become a crucial part of his identity.
As a boy who liked nothing better than poring over maps searching for faraway lands, it was only natural that Paul chose to study Geography at Oxford University. In his first job trading commodities for Cargill, he found himself buying zinc from Peru, Chile and Mexico and selling it to the US, trading aluminium from South Africa in Bahrain, travelling to Moscow for the first time and selling copper to the Russians. In all these places, he was struck by a sense of transition, energy, and the growing importance of these cities and countries.
Before joining CDC in 2000 as Director of Africa and Global Sector Groups, Paul worked for Citibank, first as General Manager of East Africa, based in Nairobi, then as Head of Emerging Markets Strategic Planning in London. He led the demerger of Actis from CDC and became Senior Partner on Actis’ formation in 2004. Paul led the firm until June 2015. Today he is Actis’ Chairman, providing strategic advice and business counsel to Actis through his ongoing role on its Board.
Paul believes Actis’ success lies in its hybrid global/local model: Actis is a company that is ‘“of its markets’”, born there and raised there, yet also bringing in world-class standards with the best infrastructure, education, investment strategy and insights.
Paul is a founding director of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.