In October 2019, Egypt’s government launched its first Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) named “Tharaa” (Arabic for wealth) to maximize the value of public sector assets. Africa Global Funds’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Abdalla ElEbiary, Chief Investment Officer at The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE), to learn more about the fund, progress being made, investment plans and more.
East Africa is among the fastest growing regions in the world. The entire region has seen consistent GDP growth over the last decade, including in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The region enjoys political stability, and diversified economic activity including the emergence of oil and gas as new investment pillar. MLC identified East Africa as the most attractive in Sub Saharan Africa, and a high priority for development. Heri Bomani is Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer at German investment company MLC Properties. In this Interview, he provides insights on the East African real estate market and some of its undiscovered opportunities.
In 2012, rockstar-turned-activist Sir Bob Geldof addressed the SuperReturn conference in Berlin, urging the US and European PE industry to turn its attention to Africa. He highlighted the opportunities to generate returns while leaving behind “firms, farms and factories” essential for the continent’s development. Eight years later and many PE sponsors have been drawn by Africa’s expanding economic growth and its youthful and rapidly growing population. Fundraising for the continent reached $3.8bn in 2019 according to the AVCA, the best year since 2015, and the number of PE deals successfully executed has risen consistently.
Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in gender lens investing, a strong indication that the financial sector is working to balance a legacy of lopsided investments. Finnfund, a Finnish development financier and impact investor, has since April 2019 invested over €121m in companies that promote women’s empowerment in developing countries. “Investing in gender equality is important because globally, there are major differences in the status of men and women and their opportunities to participate. Finnfund assesses each of its investments before making a decision, taking into account whether the investment can be expected to promote gender equality,” says Ulla Huotari, Investment Manager at Finnfund.
The “narrative” around Financial Technology (fintech) in Africa is changing. Five years ago, discussion around fintech focused on the ecosystems; supporting start-ups in Cape Town, Nairobi and Lagos and elsewhere; the tech incubators; the number of fintechs (perhaps 500 by one count), and the number of African fintechs admitted to the prestigious Y-Combinator (or Y-C). Key players were a range of early-stage investors focusing on Seed rounds or Series A, including 12-J funds in South Africa, and a dozen or so VC-funds across the continent supported by development banks and some private, capital.
COVID-19 turned 2020 in a tough year for most investors – especially those in emerging markets like Africa. Not only is Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy expected to post its first recession in 25 years, the World Bank also warns between 13 and 50 million people in the region could fall into extreme poverty due to the pandemic.
Ali Khalpey, CEO, EFG Hermes Frontier tells Africa Global Funds about the firm’s brokerage services in Africa and more
Africa Global Funds’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Jean Claude Permal, Executive Director and Chief Operation Officer (up) and Husayn Sassa, Head of Fund Administration & Investor Services (down) at AXIS to discuss trends in the fund administration industry and more.
Despite the projected 3% contraction in Africa’s GDP in 2020 (IMF) followed by modest recovery next year, there remain unmatched investment returns on the continent. However, many investors continue to struggle with finding the “ideal deal” despite the significant foreign direct investment into Africa over the past few years, which saw inflows to the continent rising to $46bn in 2018 followed by an 11% increase in 2019 (UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2019).
Technology as an essential ingredient in investment management success is no longer in question. Running on a differentiating investment strategy and some Excel spreadsheets simply isn’t viable. Fast-paced global markets, asset diversification and complexity, data volumes, investor servicing demands and intense competition mean advanced system capabilities are a must-have.
In October, Vantage Capital, Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager, made a $28m equity investment to acquire a significant minority shareholding in the Cliniques Internationales du Maroc Group (CIM Santé Group). For Vantage, this was the largest growth-capital investment to date. AGF’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Luc Albinski (pictured), Managing Partner, and Driss Benabdeslam, Associate Partner at Vantage Capital, to discuss details.
Several East African states have become the focus of attention for international investors. Economic growth in the region was around 6% in 2019 and is expected to be around 1-2% in the Corona year 2020. Real estate offers foreign investors good market access and enables them to increase yields and diversify risks
All around the world, Covid-19 has had a tremendous effect on education, closing schools for millions of students. In Africa, in particular, the school closures caused by the pandemic have exacerbated previously existing inequalities, and the children already most at risk of being excluded from a quality education have been the worst affected.
African Lions Fund closed its initial share offering on September 30 with 52 investors and approximately $3.7m under management. Africa Global Funds’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Tim Staermose, CEO of the Investment Manager, ST Funds Management, to learn more about the new offering and investment opportunities in Africa.