Empact Team

Empact Capital was conceived by Ethiopian born Michael F. Gizaw following years of extensive research and due diligence on the viability of private equity in Ethiopia, and preliminary discussions with domestic and international investors.  During this time Mr. Gizaw traveled widely, meeting local business people and various stakeholders to understand the investment climate, the business culture, the challenges local businesses faced, and the enormous opportunity Ethiopia presents.    

Michael Fekade Gizaw | Managing Partner | mfgizaw@empactcapital.com
Michael Fekade Gizaw
Mr. Gizaw is a founding partner of Empact Capital Partners, LLC, an American firm with a regional branch office in Ethiopia. Empact Capital is an investment advisory firm offering a variety of investment and business services to foreign and domestic businesses. Empact is also engaged in developing an SME investment fund targeting Ethiopia and select frontier economies of the COMESA region.

Mr. Gizaw has a long career as an entrepreneur and investor in the U.S. and Africa.  Empact Capital evolved from his work as Managing Partner for Africa of New Frontier Capital Partners (NFCP) beginning in 2005. Prior to co-founding New Frontier Capital Partners (NFCP), Mr. Gizaw travelled extensively exploring investment opportunities and conducting country due diligences in various African countries. His first entrepreneurial venture was the founding of Continental Fuels, Inc., a Massachusetts-based supplier and market maker of energy products which he founded in 1992 and led until 2008. Before founding his own company, Mr. Gizaw worked for the Energy Division of Cargill as a crude oil and petroleum products trader.

Mr. Gizaw is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, and the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Arizona, where he earned an MBA with a focus in International Finance and Trade.

Mesfin Tafesse | Legal Counsel | mtafesse@empactcapital.com
Mesfin Tafesse is a business lawyer with over 20 years of legal experience in the public, private and civil society sectors in Ethiopia. Since March 2007, Mesfin has been in private practice representing foreign investors and international law firms and later on working as Program Manager for the American Bar Association Ethiopia Program. Mesfin began his career as a lawyer in one of the largest state owned textile corporations and served in a variety of other public sector legal and administrative positions rising to be Director General of the Federal Civil Service Agency. While at the Ministry of Justice, Mesfin worked as a Senior Researcher for the Inter-Ministerial Committee tasked with revising the Commercial Code of Ethiopia. At Justice his responsibilities included assisting state owned enterprises develop standard business contracts and advising on the legal dimensions of their business difficulties. He also served as an Ethiopia’s counterpart Legal Counsel to an international law firm representing the Ethiopian Government in commercial arbitration disputes. He earned an LLB from Addis Ababa University and an LLM from the University of London with concentrations in International Trade Law, International Commercial Arbitration, International Economic Law and Law of Finance, and Foreign Investment in Emerging Economies.

Wondwossen Teshome | Special Advisor | wteshome@empactcapital.com
Wondwossen Teshome is senior banking executive in Ethiopia with over thirty years of management, supervisory, consulting, and operational experience. He currently serves as Senior Advisor at the Agency for Supervision and Regulation of State Banks, and on a financial advisory body advising the Prime Minister.  Prior to this current position, Mr. Teshome was the President of the Development Bank of Ethiopia, the country’s premier development finance institution engaged in financing Ethiopia’s SME sector. During his tenor at the Bank, Mr. Teshome was involved in the management and execution of SME debt financing worth more than $7 billion Birr.  During his long financial career, Mr. Teshome has been involved in project finance, debt structuring, arbitration and dispute resolution, and foreclosure proceedings. He had management oversight of financial analyses and due diligence in the financing of numerous small manufacturing and agribusiness SMEs. He has a thorough understanding of the business process, technical, legal and cultural complexities of business transactions in Ethiopia. Mr. Teshome has extensive experience coordinating and partnering with multilateral financial institutions and foreign banks, and has a high degree of multi-cultural awareness.  Mr. Teshome began his long career in the financial sector as an agriculture sector financial specialist. He has expertise in evaluating agricultural, agro-processing and small manufacturing projects. In the course of his career, Mr. Teshome has gained wide respect for his understanding and support for SMEs.