Monday 22 December 2014

Forget China – Africa is the place to invest, says Bob Geldof

Richard Evans

Published 01/07/2013 | 15:39

Bob Geldof

INVESTORS are missing out on "massive returns" by ignoring Africa and sticking to China, according to Bob Geldof, the rock star turned private equity investor.

He criticised fund managers for ignoring what the called the "forgotten continent".

Fund managers were prepared to endure "endless hardship to get to Asia”, Mr Geldof said, but investors who looked to China rather than Africa were missing out on “massive returns”.

“With regard to Africa, the fund industry is criminally non-innovative,” Mr Geldof told the Financial Times. “[Fund managers] are actually paid to invest money according to their principles, so how can they justify ignoring 1bn people in the world’s fastest-growing markets?”

Mr Geldof has backed 8 Miles, a fund named after the distance between the Africa and the most southern tip of Europe, which raised $200m last year to invest across the continent. The fund also was backed by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, and sponsored by CLSA, the investment bank. CDC, the British government's development institution, also invested in the fund.

Last month Mr Geldof led his old band, the Boomtown Rats, at a reunion concert at the Isle of Wight festival. He is best known for organising the Live Aid concert to raise funds for famine relief in Africa in 1985. His foray into private equity followed in the footsteps of U2's Bono, who co-founded Elevation Partners in 2005.

Meanwhile, an analysis of the countries with the greatest potential for economic growth found that four of the top five were in Africa. The four were Rwanda, Liberia, Zambia and Gambia. The fifth country was Cambodia, according to Caroline Shaw, a fund manager at Courtiers

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