Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa had regarded the recent elections as his opportunity to rehabilitate the country in the eyes of the international community. To what extent has that opportunity been lost? Here’s an assessment from Dr. Christopher McKee (pictured), the CEO of PRS Group, the biggest quant-driven country risk analysis firm, whose data feeds Transparency International, the IMF and many of Wall Street’s largest investment firms.
Goodwell Investments has recently launched Goodwell Microfinance Development Company IV (Goodwell IV), a new €20m fund for investments in the inclusive economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. AGF catches up with Wim van der Beek, Partner at Goodwell Investments, to learn more
Criterion Africa Partners (CAP) is an independent private equity management company that invests across the forestry value chain in select countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The firm was established by the former Global Environment Fund (GEF) forestry investment team in 2017. AGF’s Anna Lyudvig sits down for a one on one with George G. McPherson, Managing Director, to discuss the firm and opportunities in the forestry sector.
AGF’s Anna Lyudvig sits down with Oliver Bell, Lead Portfolio Manager and Chairman of the Investment Advisory Committee for the T. Rowe Price Middle East & Africa Equity Strategy, to learn more about the Fund and its African investments.
Swedfund, owned by the Swedish state, provides risk capital, expertise and financial support for investments in local companies in the developing markets of Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. AGF’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Maria Håkansson who joined Swedfund as its new Chief Executive Officer in March, to learn more about Africa investments.
Alta Semper, a sector-focused private equity manager that invests in Frontier Markets (currently focused on Africa), across both the Consumer and Healthcare verticals, has recently announced its first investment in Nigeria. AGF’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Afsane Jetha, Managing Partner & CEO, about the firm, its investment strategy, deals and more.
Africa Global Funds’ Anna Lyudvig sits down with Felix Adahi Bikpo, Chief Executive Officer of the African Guarantee Fund, a pan-African non-bank financial institution, which aims to promote economic development, increase employment and reduce poverty in Africa to discuss the Fund, African growth prospects and agreement with GuarantCo.
AGF’s catches up with Zack Bezuidenhoudt, Head of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, S&P Dow Jones Indices, to discuss index-based products and passive investing.
Anna Lyudvig (AL): How South Africa is positioned for growth and what are the ways that passive investing may contribute?
Zack Bezuidenhoudt (ZB): The investment options South Africans have access to have increased dramatically over the last few years. More options in the passive space have meant that investors can now construct low cost strategies across multiple asset classes and styles of investing. S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) has rolled out a range of plain vanilla and smart beta indices in South Africa that serve as the underlying for ETFs and index funds. S&P DJI introduced the SPIVA® South Africa Scorecard three years ago to show how active funds have performed against its respective S&P indices. The SPIVA® Scorecard is an educational resource for market participants to learn holistically about the differences between active and passive investments, and how each performs over various timeframes.
AL: How to take advantage of the wide range of index-based vehicles now available to market participants?
ZB: S&P DJI launched a range of new indices for the South African market four years ago, including various smart beta indices that follow factor based investing style such as, quality, momentum, value, yield, low volatility and size. Our indices underly quite a few new ETFs listing on the JSE, ranging from indices that measure Local and Global Property, Global Equity, Multi Factor, Single Factors, Dividends, Fixed Income and Large Cap South Africa and US equity. Market participants have more choice with a broader range of index-based ETFs across asset classes and regions. Market participants that prefer unit trusts also have more options, as various asset managers now offer smart beta and index funds, as well as Robo Advisor solutions offered across the risk spectrum.
AL: Which indices may best suit particular risk/return goals, and when/how to employ each?
ZB: As an index provider, our indices are meant to measure the returns of broad markets and market segments through a fully transparent and publicly available methodology that outlines the rules for governing the indices as well as the eligibility criteria to be added to an index. We do not govern our indices for outperformance.
AGF’s Anna Lyudvig speaks with Wildu du Plessis, Head of Africa at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, about how the nature of deals, exits and fundraising activity has changed in Southern African private equity throughout the years.
A major initiative made possible by the Phatisa-Meridian partnership was the Productivity Improvement Program for Smallholders; instrumental in mobilizing the AAF’s TAF to provide funds and the necessary expertise to roll out the outgrowers' program in Malawi through Meridian’s existing network of retailers in the country. Farmers Worlds, part of the Meridian Group, has hired 60 salesmen/women termed ‘agronauts’ to operate out of Meridian’s (> 100) retail outlets and reach 12,000 farmers in the central and southern regions of Malawi. Phatisa is a sector-specific fund manager with committed investments from Sierra Leone in West Africa to Mauritius in East Africa. This reflects a total of nine portfolio companies across a diverse range of agri and food-related businesses.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has backed several initiatives to support their Feed Africa Strategy, such as Africa-based Phatisa, which invests in food and agri-related businesses in Africa that show strong growth potential.