Simon Harford is a Partner and formerly co-Head of Actis in Africa, a USD$5 billion emerging markets private equity firm. Actis is one of the largest such investors in Africa, operating since 1948 and currently with some US$1.5 billion invested in the African continent across 18 countries. The firm specializes in investing capital in larger businesses to fund their next stage of growth, and also providing proactive business support and oversight. Actis has repeatedly been voted Private Equity Firm of the Year for Africa, and operates also in China, India, SE Asia and Latin America.

Harford joined Actis in 2006 based in Lagos as Head of Actis West Africa. Prior to Actis, he was founder and CEO of Virgin Nigeria, the new airline created to be the private sector flag carrier for Nigeria. He spent his earlier corporate career in aviation, investment banking and strategy consulting with British Airways, S.G. Warburg and Boston Consulting Group.

He has also founded two other airlines and led various entrepreneurial new businesses in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. Harford is based in Johannesburg and sits on various boards and advisory groups in Africa.

He holds a BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University and an MBA from INSEAD in France. He lives with his family in Johannesburg.