World Bank has challenged international investment portfolio managers to consider Africa as a fertile ground to plough equity. Jingdong Hua, Vice President and Treasurer at the bank said very few equity financing institutions are ready to invest in Africa due to perception gap that exist. “Change the perceptions; Africa is 54 distinctive countries than a single country Africa,” said Hua at the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum held in Gaborone last week.
The forum was held under the banner: ‘Sovereign Wealth Fund in Africa: Policies and Best Practices for the Future’ where in-depth discussion on sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) was discussed.“They are tremendous stories of growth hidden from many investors,” said Hua calling for the continent’s sovereign wealth fund to lead de-risking the perception about Africa.
Speaking at the same platform, President Mokgweetsi Masisi highlighted that financial institutions in Africa are among those severely affected by the impact of de-risking by counterparts in other supposedly more secure, jurisdictions.“This is the main source of concern about money laundering and financing of terrorism. Therefore it is incumbent upon national sovereign wealth funds to lead efforts to demonstrate that Africa is not chronically deficient in this regard,” said Masisi.
Masisi also challenged the sovereign wealth fund managers to evolve from being guardian of national wealth but actively participate in funding infrastructure, to achieve national objectives.“The funds operating in South East Asian countries are good examples in this respect,” said Masisi.
He said opportunities open to sovereign wealth funds have also increased tremendously in recent years, highlighting that the prospects include expanding range of asset classes, investment instruments, while markets provides a range of options for generating attractive financial returns. Although Africa has more than 14 sovereign wealth funds, most of them invest their money outside the continent.