Mapping the future of Africa

A recent discussion I attended at UCT’s Graduate School of Business reminded me of how much I enjoy engaging with someone who is a forward thinking strategist. The speaker was Graham Sinclair, investment strategist and global project leader, and he was sharing his insights on the State of Sustainable Investment in Africa.

He began with an analysis of the current state of sustainable institutional investment in Africa in 2012, and pointed to pressing research questions faced by practitioners. It also described a collaborative research project being conducted by to map the marketplace in 2012.

An aggregation of available information in 2011 showed that the assets under management may be more than US$125 billion, making Africa a top 10 global marketplace for sustainable investment. Major emerging markets like South Africa, Morocco and Egypt, and frontier markets like Nigeria, Mauritius and Kenya represent new investable opportunities for global emerging markets investors, and African pension funds, banks and insurance companies looking for long term investments.

South Africa has seen some major new developments, such as the revised pensions Regulation 28, voluntary initiatives such as CRISA, PRI and the Carbon Disclosure Project, hosting COP17, carbon tax proposals and investment value chain projects, and the emergence of integrated reporting. Billions of dollars in assets from investors have been attracted. But what is the impact on sustainable development? What has been learned by the Sustainable Returns project mapping the investment value chain in southern Africa, and the state of environmental, social and governance (ESG) integration?

Graham Sinclair said that in 2012, the inaugural Marketplace Trends Report 2012 project will research, analyse and publish a report on the sustainable investment market size and dynamics in 54 countries in Africa. In parallel, for the first time, global SIFs are harmonizing their reporting approaches, so will present an Africa report and contribute the Africa coverage into the global SIFs Trends Report in December 2012.

The report will answer the question: how much sustainable investment is in Africa today, and what does it look like? The report is designed to offer a marketplace survey of the institutional investment industry in Africa focused on investments that in some way cover environmental, social and governance factors. The activities of portfolio investors, fund management industry, stock exchanges and other stakeholders will be covered, where relevant, to describe the marketplace. Marketplace Trends Report 2012 project seeks to offer participants learning’s on what is / is not being done in Africa, and the ongoing risks and opportunities in the context of economic development in Africa.

Want to know more? I know I certainly did. These websites are a good place to start.


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