AfDB and Institutional Investor Host Inaugural Africa Sovereign Funds Roundtable

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Casablanca, 24 March 2011 -The inaugural Africa Sovereign Funds Roundtable held on 15 and 16 March 2011 in Casablanca, Morocco, was organized by Institutional Investor’s Sovereign Investor Institute in association with the African Development Bank (AfDB).  

The AfDB participated in this first Roundtable of international and African official funds under its role in resource mobilization for Africa.  The Roundtable comprised a prestigious gathering of senior officials from sovereign wealth funds, state pension funds, finance ministries, social security funds, and central banks from Africa and many other countries, along with a select number of leading asset managers.

The three main objectives of the Roundtable were to:

  • Enable African sovereign funds to compare notes on common investment, strategy and governance challenges;
  • Invite non-African sovereign funds to share their experience in running state and other institutional money with their African counterparts; and
  • Explore inward investment opportunities in Africa.

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) increased their assets to US$ 4,000 billion in the past year, a significant increase in a challenging investment environment. Their aggregate assets under management increased from USD 3,590 billion in 2010 to USD 3,980 billion at the start of 2011.

Key African finance ministers and central Bank governors attended the Roundtable. Some of the world’s largest Sovereign Wealth Funds, which have a strong interest in exploring investment opportunities in Africa, were also present. Participants shared their expertise and experience in establishing and managing state funds to achieve stable and long-term investment performance.

Two special guests at the Roundtable were former UK Prime Minister and representative of the Quartet, Tony Blair, and the Executive Chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group, Mark Mobius.

The AfDB delegation was led by Bobby Pittman, Vice President, Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration.  He emphasized the growth of sovereign wealth and state investment funds in Africa, the outlook and the challenges they faced and highlighted what African governments need to do to attract greater inward investment.

Diane Alfano, Chairman of Institutional Investor, and Stephen Glover, Executive Director, led the Institutional Investor team at the Roundtable. This was their first Africa Sovereign Funds Roundtable, bringing their expertise and relationships with sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, endowments, asset managers and institutional investors to Africa.

African sovereign wealth is growing; many new state funds are being created; and the continent is becoming an investment destination of great interest for an increasing number of foreign and domestic institutional investors. Roundtable participants gained privileged insights on what is needed from policymakers, African sovereign funds and private investors to attract greater inward investment to African economies to develop vital infrastructure, energy, raw materials and agriculture projects.

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