RENEW Strategies

In the News…The Africa Beats

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Laura Davis
| December 12, 2012

Welcome to RENEW's In the News…The Africa Beats. The following post includes highlights on topics such as U.S.-Africa relations, Ethiopia, Impact Investing and more:

US and Africa
SABC News - The American government is moving forward with plans to increase investment in Africa and build up America’s commercial relationship with Africa, as part of President Obama’s strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa. The ‘doing business in Africa’ campaign is part of this new initiative, and the Obama administration plans to take steps to encourage more trade, investment, and economic growth in Africa through educating US businesses about the ripe investment climate on the continent.
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Ethiopia
Ventures - Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who took office in September 2012 following the death of his predecessor, Meles Zenawi, has started taking steps to open the country up for more foreign investment. Last week, the prime minister signed a deal that will lift domestic restrictions on investors from their closest neighbor, Kenya. This is hopefully the first step of many in inviting more foreign investors into the country.
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Invest in Africa
Business Day Live - Foreign direct investment in Africa is still on the rise, according to positive comments last Wednesday from the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB). RMB confirmed that South Africa is still the most attractive country in Africa for foreign direct investment, and that, despite the country’s continued battles with poverty and inequality, purchasing power remains strong. Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tunisia follow close behind South Africa in terms of attractive investment climates, and RMB reported that investors are seeing expansive opportunities for foreign direct investment in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the resources sector.
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The East African - A survey by the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA) released last week shows that 76% of private equity firms polled have more interest in investing in emerging market funds, as opposed to those who were interested in developed economies-focused funds. The survey also showed that sub-Saharan Africa-focused funds are expected to perform ahead of other emerging markets such as North Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, with Africa-focused firms expected to return an average of 16% per year. The survey revealed that sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be one of the most lucrative markets for private equity in 2012.
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Impact Investing
Harvard Business Review - The number of women investors in the angel investment realm is on the rise, and with good results. Although historically women have made up just 10-15% of angel investors and venture capitalists, that number is starting to increase. The Kauffmann Foundation recently found that venture funds with more women involved tend to invest in companies founded by women 70% of the time, and that women entrepreneurs bring in 20% more revenue with 50% less money invested. Investors who are looking to expand their network should take note.
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Conferences/Forums
African Business Review - The second annual African Capital Markets Conference took place last Thursday, December 6, in London. On the agenda were discussions centered around the investment landscape of sub-Saharan Africa, including the growth of Africa’s currency debt markets, assessment of corporate funding options, how to promote growth and confidence in Africa’s debt markets and the role of developmental finance in the investment market in Africa. The conference included participants who are already active in investments in Africa, along with others who are looking to capitalize on the wealth of opportunities there.
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