My Take: For most investors the majority of the continent of Africa remains a mystery. A largely backwards land that has yet to fully recover from the fallout of Colonialism is often what colors the general perception of the land. Consequently, most investors give little to no thought of even considering Africa as a land of investment opportunity.
Regions, industries or companies that are shrouded in mystery can be great investment opportunities. Gaining a position in an investment before the rest of the world wakes up to its potential is what being a successful investor is all about. This is why I highly recommend dedicating a small amount of time to the two interviews transcribed in the links above. Both are recent interviews with fund manager Larry Seruma.
Part of being a fund manager for a particular region comes the responsibility of being very well versed in a variety of regional dynamics. Such a manager is not focusing on a specific industry that resides in a region. No, the manager is focusing on the entire region. Therefore, they should have a good grasp of both macro and micro trends. This is very helpful for an investor that wishes to become acquainted to what the region has to offer in terms of investments.
Africa is in a unique situation because it still is largely undeveloped compared to the rest of the world, yet there are parts that are more developed than what the average perception is of the region. Anytime perception conflicts with reality you have an investing opportunity. Whether the reality is better or worse than the perception, eventually perception will give to what is the reality. If you can see through the errors in the general perception, then you’re ahead of the game.
Don’t ignore Africa as a region where you may want to focus some of your investment research. In the long-term, the investments made today could pay off handsomely.