One night in July, Lazard banker Matthieu Pigasse Congolese capital Brazzaville trying to get the last ferry on the Congo River to Kinshasa meeting. In September, announced that Pigasse, Lazard advised on some of France's biggest transactions, including the merger of $ 50000000000 made utility GDF Suez in 2008, will go to the team which now number a dozen bankers to focus on mergers in the region. "The new frontier," says Pigasse. "Potential M & A market will grow substantially in the coming years." Banks including Citigroup (C), Barclays (BCS), and Standard Chartered (STAN) also expanded their presence in Africa. Africa has emerged as the second fastest growing region of the world, after Asia and Latin America and Eastern Europe continues, according to Barclays. The International Monetary Fund estimates that sub-Saharan African economy to grow 5.7 percent on average this year, and the area is home to nine of the 20 fastest growing economies. "Being first is a huge advantage," said Crispin Osborne, who oversees African investment banking operations of Barclays London and plans to hire on-the-ground investment banking staff in East and West Africa this year. The number of private equity transactions in sub-Saharan Africa jumped 19 percent, to 43 deals in the first nine months of last year, reports emerged Markets Private Equity Association. In China at that time, with 179 transactions, 17 percent decline, while India has decreased 29 percent, in 154 deals. In November, Carlyle Group made its first investment in sub-Saharan Africa, to join with the other supporters to put $ 210 million in the agricultural supply chain enterprises Export Trading Group, Tanzania. "We see as sub-Saharan Africa where China was 15 years ago, and we want to be one of the first ones there," said Genevieve Sangudi, Lagos (Nigeria) based Carlyle managing director and investment areas fund.Many takeover private equity in Africa's natural resources and telecommunications. Also the interests of the consumer and retail sectors in the region rose as investors seek to profit from the rising middle class. "Every corner of the world's consumers want to play in Africa," said Brian Smith, who oversees investment banking in sub-Saharan Africa from Johannesburg to JPMorgan Chase (JPM). Big banks that focus on Africa because they are reduced in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East region as seen emerging market boom a few years ago. Citigroup last month announced plans to eliminate 11,000 positions in countries from Pakistan to Paraguay, but said 1300 employees based in African countries including Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and not be affected.Still, pursuing African Bank offers long-playing games. Cost of investment banking in the region reached about $ 305 million in 2012, according to research firm Freeman & Co., Doubling of a decade ago, but still only a third of those who are paid at the same time in Italy., With less than one-tenth population. Banks also have to contend with an unstable stock market and a new politics born to say nothing of the lack of basics like roads or power grid reliable. Lazard said Pigasse airline service between African cities are very limited once he had returned to Paris to switch between capitals neighboring African countries. Outside South Africa, the port, internet access, and delivery is often unreliable. And even some of the government to tackle corruption and transparency, many investors still shy away. "Africa has a lot to do with education, infrastructure, the justice system," said James Tidmarsh, a Geneva-based lawyer who raised funds for mining projects in the Middle East and Africa. "If someone owes you money, you get money." Pigasse did not let it stop him. "Given the growth prospects," he said, "we have to be there." Bottom line: With the growth of 5.7 percent and nine of 20 in the world's fastest growing economies, sub-Saharan Africa is attracting bankers and deal makers.