MichielLeRoux2022Michiel le Roux

South Africa


Occupational Information

Job Title: CEO Unifi Group

Professional History

Michiel le Roux is the CEO of the microfinance company, Unifi, which has grown from being operational in Zambia to Uganda, Tanzania, and South Africa. The company says it offers simple personal loans to formally employed people and has as its goal to be able to bringing seamless financial solutions to clients who otherwise have no access to convenient credit. After finishing his university, he worked in investment banking for two years before becoming an entrepreneur, starting a food business in 2009 and later becoming involved in private equity investments. In 2015, he founded Unifi. Michiel says that one of the biggest challenges for a startup businesses is attracting and retaining top talent.  Of Unifi's 430 staff members, more than 300 are women.

Prior to Unifi, Michiel was an investment executive for Barak Fund Management a private equity investment company backed by the Export Trading Group. The company was an investor in sub-Saharan African private companies.  He went on from that to start his own investment company, Kapiri Mposhi Ltd., in 2014.  He also worked at Absa Capital, and Barclays Capital.

In 2008, Michiel co-founded a scholarship fund for financially needy high school students in Stellenbosch, South Africa, called Geleentheid Trust. The trust awards scholarships to talented children in the Stellenbosch area who can't afford their high school of choice.  It aims to give kids from poor communities the same sorts of opportunities wealthier people obtain from attendance at a prestigious high school. 

In 2009, in a bid to try to stop Jacob Zuma from assuming power in South Africa, he volunteered for the fledgeling party, Cope, that ran in opposition to the ANC and subsequently wrote a book about it, called The misdventures of a Cope volunteer.  He continues his interest in elections by working as a presiding officer for the South African IEC during elections.

He has also been active in African long-distance swimming, organising and leading five ultra-marathon adventure swims in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, and he holds the joint world record for swimming 25km across Lake Malawi in 7 hours 53 minutes and is a mountain biking champion in Zambia.

Michiel is a Rhodes Scholar, and was selected for the Africa List of young business leaders in Zambia.


Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne, Australia
Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Financial Economics from the University of Stellenbosch
MSc African Studies from Oxford University


2022 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow

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