African SRI fund breaks new groundDecember 2009
Africa’s first sustainable investment fund outside South Africa has been established.
The Africa Sustainability Fund, created by Sustainable Capital, a Mauritius-based asset manager, has already attracted interest from Sanlam Investments, a division of the Sanlam Group, a South African financial institution with $40billion (£24.2bn, €26.6bn) in managed assets.
Sustainable Capital, which recently signed up to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, said it was ‘remarkable’ that there were no sustainable investment funds on the continent outside South Africa – especially given the current interest in investing in emerging markets.
The new fund’s universe includes companies listed on non-African exchanges, but they must derive the bulk of their income from African countries outside South Africa.
Most of the initial holdings are in Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria, although companies from Mali, Senegal and Zambia are also included. About a third of the universe is in the financial sector (see pie chart).
Sustainable Capital said it hoped the fund would be ‘a vehicle through which to pioneer [sustainable] investing in Africa’. Greg Barker, director of research, said: ‘We’re trying to change the behaviour of African companies by how we allocate capital.’
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