October 17, 2014

CNN: Ebola spreading concerns investors

Larry Seruma spoke yesterday with Anchor Maggie Lake, World Business Today Show, from CNN International regarding Ebola Epidemic and the impact on Africa Investments. The interview covered important topics in our economy today such as the short term impact on the affected countries, what does this mean for growth prospects, investment flows and FDI, and the perspective from a global standpoint.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820 

African dollar-denominated bonds from Nigeria to Kenya tumble: BDlive

            Kenya central bank. Picture: BLOOMBERG/TREVOR SNAPPS

"AFRICAN dollar-denominated bonds from Nigeria to Kenya tumbled on Wednesday, sending yields higher, as an oil-price slump and concerns about the spread of Ebola put a damper on investor demand for assets in frontier markets," writes Robert Brand on October 15th on BDlive's Market Section. Click through the following link to read the full article: African dollar-denominated bonds from Nigeria to Kenya tumble
Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

September 7, 2014

CNBC: Tracking the impact of the Ebola crisis

Larry Seruma spoke to CNBC about the impact of the Ebola crisis and how it has affected Western Africa and various sectors.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820 

August 6, 2014

President Obama at the U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit

President Obama spoke yesterday at the U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. (video courtesy of Politico.com), announcing that the U.S. government, World Bank and businesses will invest a combined $33 billion in Africa's economy. Obama said the United States will finance $7 billion in business exports and investments in Africa, while U.S. companies have inked $14 billion in deals with the continent, and the World Bank, Sweden and private sources have pledged another $12 billion in funding for Obama's Power Africa energy initiative, bringing the electrification program's total funding to $26 billion.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

August 5, 2014

The New Era for Business In Africa: Bloomberg TV

From Bloomberg TV: Foreign investment in African economies will reach a record $80 billion in 2014 with many U.S. companies leading the way. American companies continue to partner with their African counterparts to drive growth, yet significant business and financial opportunities remain untapped. This session explores the future of U.S.-African partnerships and identifies new ways to strengthen business ties and enable greater economic progress. Welcoming the panel is Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder and Managing Director, Mara Group. The group moderator is The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, Founder of the Clinton Foundation and the 42nd President of the United States. Panelists include Aliko Dangote - President and CEO, Dangote Group, Jeff Immelt - CEO, General Electric, Andrew N. Liveris - President, Chairman & CEO, The  Dow Chemical Company, Phuti Mahanyele - CEO, Shanduka Group, and Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

Pritzker, Bloomberg See Deals at U.S.-Africa Forum: Bloomberg TV

From Bloomberg TV: U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke today in Washington, D.C., with Bloomberg TV's Hans Nichols about opportunities for U.S. investment in Africa, the outlook for corporate dealmaking in the region and the U.S.-Africa Business Forum. (Be patient - 15 second ad will proceed video.)

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

August 4, 2014

Investing in Africa Becomes Attractive: USA Today

(Photo: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu, AFP/Getty Images)
"As Africa's economies gain momentum, democratic governments take hold and the continent's young population grows wealthier, investing there is becoming both easier and more attractive to international investors," writes Hadley Malcolm in today's edition of USA TODAY's MONEY section. Click through to read the full article: Investing in Africa Becomes Attractive.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

GE Plans $2 Billion Africa Spending: Bloomberg

General Electric's Chairman & CEO, Jeffrey Immelt

General Electric Co. (GE) will invest about $2 billion in African nations by 2018 and regards the continent as its most promising growth region, as reported today by Bloomberg (click through for full coverage).
The money will be spent building new infrastructure projects, training local workers and improving regional supply chains among other activities, the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company said in a statement today. GE already supplies trains for Nigeria’s rail network and aircraft engines for Kenya Airways Ltd.
“We remain a committed partner to Africa’s sustainable growth,” said Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman and chief executive officer. The company has “great momentum in Africa and other developing regions.”

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

June 5, 2014

Main Street Invests in Africa’s Stocks: Nile Fund’s Larry Seruma on the continent’s modernising equity markets

(This article was first published by Financial Times - This is Africa)
Nairobi Stock Exchange.
Getting in on Africa’s economic boom is no longer reserved for CEOs or million dollar entrepreneurs. Main Street investors can now own a portfolio of Africa’s fastest growing stocks with as little as $1000. That’s the minimum investment required for Larry Seruma’s Nile Pan African fund, a US based mutual fund offering the public targeted allocations in African equities
Nile is well placed between greater interest in Africa’s business opportunities and the continent’s modernising securities markets. With assets of $45m, it now advertises across the US on Bloomberg Radio, offering investment options online. Nile won the 2014 Lipper Award for Best Emerging Markets Fund, returning roughly 9 percent annually through 2013.
“I got the idea to start the fund in 2008 when I was hedge fund manager,” Nile Capital Management CIO Larry Seruma told This is Africa. “Most of the investments we were making that were much more profitable and less understood were in Africa,” recalls the Uganda native.   
Tracking US portfolio trends at the time further sharpened Mr Seruma’s vision for Nile: “Then it was about supply and demand. On the demand side we saw an increase in flows to world equities funds, but options for Africa were lacking. So on the supply side, we saw an opportunity to become the only actively managed Africa focused mutual fund in the US that a client can come to with as little as $1000.”
Many investors, both at the individual and institutional level ($250,000), have placed financial bets with Nile. It invests across 21 of Africa’s 29 stock markets, with fixed income holdings primarily limited to Ghanaian bonds.
Rather than large multi-nationals, Mr Seruma prefers small to mid-cap African companies, those in sectors poised to show the most growth, and least likely to be traded in larger index funds, thus more likely mispriced. More than 50 percent of Nile’s portfolio is allocated to small to micro-cap stocks. The fund’s top sector exposure is to consumer related (35 percent), industrial (26 percent), and financial stocks (14 percent). Top three country exposure for Nile is Nigeria (27 percent), South Africa (22 percent), and Kenya (11 percent).
Top Nile Fund holdings span Zenith Bank and Dangote Cement in Nigeria to private schools education company Curro Holdings in South Africa.
The events of 2014 may make stocks in African countries a harder sell. Fed tapering and a rebound in the performance of less risky American equities influenced a sell-off in emerging markets assets. Though most African equities (with the exclusion of South Africa) have a frontier market classification, they are often viewed similarly to emerging markets investments. Then there are elevated risk concerns born out of recent terrorist incidents in Kenya and Nigeria.
“There’s still a very compelling case for US investors looking at long-term potential to invest in Africa,” says Mr Seruma. He points to a number of reasons, starting with macro differences between the US and Africa. “The prospects for high growth in the US are still not so good, because of the demographics, because of low interest rates, because of high debt levels. If you look at those dynamics in Africa, it has high growth, growing youth populations with greater spending power, and the cost of capital in Africa is decreasing.”
And these macro-trends will translate into different yield opportunities. “If you look at the long-term return for US equities, most analysts place it at around 2 to 4 percent. In treasuries, US interest rates are low and will likely remain that way for a long time, especially if you believe in secular stagnation in the US,” says Mr Seruma.  
“African stocks and bonds are sometimes in the double digits. If you want a higher return you will have to go to Africa to gain those high yielding assets. It’s a pretty easy vanilla trade that’s going to be there for a long time.”
Mr Seruma underscores portfolio diversification. “Investors don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket. And the region that’s least been allocated to is Africa. So from a diversification standpoint, you want to have Africa checked out.”
He also references stock correlation, often employed to mitigate portfolio risk, as another draw to African stocks. “If you review asset data, you see African equities have lower correlation with the U.S. So adding Africa in your portfolio actually lowers your overall risk.”
On the topic of investor risk concerns, Mr Seruma references Africa’s modernising securities market infrastructure parallel to its improving business environment.
“To start, many countries have become better managers of their economies. So there are better macroeconomic policies with regard to inflation, taxation and fiscal management. There’s greater investment in infrastructure and record bond issuance to diversify government revenue sources. As a result you are seeing lower cost of capital and the discount rate for equities is declining. So other things being equal, you are going to get higher stock prices,” he explains.
Mr Seruma points to improving transparency, coordination, and trading platforms, while stressing there’s a great deal of discrepancy between exchanges and regions. “To put things in context, of the 29 stock markets in Africa, all of them vary considerably among each other. On the extreme side, you find well regulated markets like South Africa. On the other end, you have newer markets, where there is not enough regulation, but they are trying to make regulation work through a lot of new initiatives.”
One trend is regional coordination, “A good example is Rwanda, which has taken a lead in efforts to create one stock market in the East African community. In French West Africa, they have the BRVM, intended to gain some economies of scale, but also to build more capacity into the regulatory environment,” he explains.
Then there are efforts to upgrade and digitise platforms. “The BRVM has harmonised all their processes. Nigeria is working on implementing the NASDAQ system used in the US. Mauritius’ exchange systems are very sophisticated. The markets used to be very manual, they are becoming more electronic and linking more to developed market settlement systems and indexes,” notes Mr Seruma.  
He believes these efforts collectively will improve liquidity constraints with stocks and bonds in African markets, providing greater ability to buy and sell easily and frequently.
On financial reporting, Mr Seruma says listed African companies are reporting more frequently and the quality is improving. “Most African exchanges now require companies to provide audited financials. The big three auditing firms are becoming the auditors of most of these companies. Our view is if an auditor is good for a company in Chicago it should be good for a company in Kampala.”
On recent investor concern due to terrorism in key African equities markets Nigeria and Kenya, he sees more immediate portfolio effects in Kenya, “The recent bombings in Kenya have led to a drop in tourism. Some investments we’ve made in hotels, their revenues are directly aligned with that so that affects the returns on those stocks.”
With regard to Nigeria, while acknowledging the seriousness of the Boko Haram incidents, he notices less investor impact. “The events have been dominated in the north, which contributes only about 4-5 percent of the country’s GDP. So from that perspective we are not seeing a lot of capital that will not go to Nigeria because of Boko Haram. Most investments are in the south.”
He adds a caveat: “However, should the situation with Boko Haram persist and spread to wider parts of the country, it could lead to major changes in the economy.”
Mr Seruma notes that Africa’s growing stock market capitalisation will provide greater opportunity to diversify risk. South Africa aside, the total value of sub-Saharan Africa’s stocks has been relatively small – around $100bn, or less than many large-cap American companies.
“We are likely to see many more issues. The major indices in Europe and the US are adding more exposure. MSCI’s Frontier index will increase its weight in African stocks this month. You are likely to see a lot more portfolio flows and listings as a result. A number of countries, like Kenya and Nigeria, are providing incentives, like tax breaks, for companies to list.”
Mr Seruma predicts sub-Saharan Africa’s total stock market capitalisation will double within two years, and then every three to four years after that.
As for industries to look out for in the future, he points to telecoms related stocks, like MTN. “Mobile phone networks and platforms will be providing a number of services, banking, insurance, healthcare, digital content. There are many ways those platforms can be monetised in Africa, so we think it’s an interesting area to focus on.”
Overall, Mr Seruma thinks Americans will invest in African stocks primarily for yield, but also believes Nile represents a new approach to the continent beyond charity. “The best way to help Africa is to invest in Africa. That investment gets Americans first high returns and an allocation in the continent. But in Africa it also has the potential to reduce the cost of capital, to provide more stable jobs, more sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty.”

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

May 14, 2014

IBM Bullish on Africa

Yesterday, CNBC's David Faber sat down with IBM Chairman & CEO Virginia Rometty to ask, in part, about the company's strategy for growth in the coming years. One key strategic focus that Rometty unmistakenly emphasized is the company's firm belief in the economic future of the continent of Africa and IBM's determination to participate in Africa's long-term growth. Said Rometty, "This decade approaching us is going to be the time that you're going to see Africa as the next frontier...boy, I am bullish on the long term. And today, we sit in almost 24 -- not almost -- we sit in 24 countries. Started in four, went to eight, and all the way up to 24 countires. We are across Africa today."
Click on the above video to hear IBM Chairman and CEO Rometty's comments on IBM's future in Africa (beginning at the 1:41 minute mark, ending at 2:24).

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

May 1, 2014

Heineken’s Q1 Revenue Exceeds Analysts’ Estimates on Nigeria

BusinessDay Online recently reported that after a drop in profit last year, Heineken is anticipating stronger sales in 2014 as some economies start to improve. Sales in Africa and the Middle East improved as Heineken sold more affordable beer and volume increased in Nigeria, the second-biggest beer market in sub-Saharan Africa. “It is particularly pleasing to note that two of the group’s growth engines, Africa and America, are kicking back into gear,” Jonathan Fyfe, an analyst at Mirabaud, wrote.
You can check out the report in detail at Heineken’s Q1 Revenue Exceeds Analysts’ Estimates on Nigeria.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

April 23, 2014

The Ghanaian Economy in One Chart!

                                                                          chart courtesy of Bloomberg Finance L.P.
Ghanaian Cedi vs. U.S. Dollar
- The Ghanaian government has failed to reign in the country's fiscal and current account deficit, and the Cedi (Ghanaian currency) is down about 20% Y-T-D.
- We don’t believe the measures taken to date will be sufficient to stem the weakness in the GHS performance relative to the dollar.
- According to Standard Bank, the forth coming bond auction is likely to see yields in excess of 26-28% from foreign investors – and the government is likely to accept such high rates.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

April 16, 2014

WSJ Opinion: Africa is Refuting the Usual Economic Pessimism

Nile Capital presents pan Africa mutual fund

Goldman Sachs predicts that Nigeria's economy will be bigger than Canada's or Italy's by 2050 -- and not far behind Germany's.
Writing about Nigeria and Africa for The Wall Street Journal, Ian Birrell says, "There is nothing illusory about the rapid growth and rampant change across the continent. Profound problems remain, as in other parts of the world -- but much of Africa stands on the brink of takeoff comparable to China's. Those who fail to see this are likely to regret their anachronistic attitude."
To benefit more from Mr. Birrell's perspective, click through the following link to read his complete column: Africa is Refuting the Usual Economic Pessimism.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

April 11, 2014

Global Monetary Policy: A View from Emerging Markets -- Brookings Institute

Exits from unconventional monetary policies (think QE in the US, Japan, and soon the ECB) pose risk to emerging countries...

The following are highlights from a recent speech by Raghuran Rajan, governor of India's central bank, currently on leave from the University of Chicago, where he is the Distinguished Service Professor of Finance.

"Investment managers may fear underperforming relative to others. This means they will hold a risky asset only if it promises a risk premium (over safe assets) that makes them confident they will not underperform holding it.  A lower path of expected returns on the safe asset makes it easier for the risky asset to meet the required risk premium, and indeed draws more investment managers to buy it – the more credible the forward guidance on “low for long”, the more the risk taking. However, as investment managers crowd into the risky asset, the risky asset is more finely priced so that the likelihood of possible fire sales increases if the interest rate environment turns. Every manager dumps the risky asset at that point in order to avoid being the last one holding it."

"Asset prices may not just revert to earlier levels on exit, but they may overshoot on the downside, and exit can cause significant collateral damage."

We recommend: 1) watch the above video, 2) check out "Ben Bernanke's Gift to Africa," and, 3) review our related whitepaper - Why QE3 Will Be a Boon to Africa's Frontier Markets.

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820


April 9, 2014

Bloomberg: Zambia Sells Africa’s First 2014 Eurobond After Deficit Jump

Bloomberg reported today that Zambia, Africa's second largest Copper producer, attracted more demand from investors in Africa’s first dollar-bond sale of 2014 than the $1 billion it offered, according to the Finance Ministry of the continent’s second-biggest copper producer.

“The second bond just like the first was significantly oversubscribed -- an expression and affirmation of the confidence the international investor community has in Zambia,” said Edgar Lungu, acting finance minister, who is also the country’s defense minister.

To read more of the Bloomberg coverage, click through Zambia Says $1 Billion Eurobond Was "Oversubscribed".

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

April 6, 2014

Bloomberg: Nigerian Economy Overtakes South Africa’s on Rebased GDP

Global investors have been eyeing Nigeria as a potential boom market, along the lines of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) 10 years ago. (Reuters)
Bloomberg reported today that Nigeria’s economy has surpassed South Africa’s as the largest on the African continent after the West African nation overhauled its gross domestic product data for the first time in two decades.

The size of the economy is now estimated at 80.3 trillion naira ($491 billion) for 2013, as compared to the World Bank’s 2012 GDP figures of $262.6 billion for Nigeria and $384.3 billion for South Africa.

The agricultural sector's share of GDP in 2013 declined from 34.69% in the old GDP series, to a forecast 21.97% in the new series. Industry saw a similar drop from 36.26% under the old series to a 25.64% forecast for 2013. The oil and gas sub-sector was the biggest loser. It showed a decline from 32.43% in 2013 under the old series, to a much lower 14.4% share.
Meanwhile, the services sector's share of GDP went from around 29% in 2013 under the old series to a forecast 51.89% in the new series.

The rebasing also revealed the emergence of new growth sectors, Kale noted, although these came off a very low base. They include the electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply sectors, which grew at a rate of 44% in 2013; as well as Nigeria's sound recording and music production industry that incorporates Nollywood, which grew over 33% in 2013.

The rebasing exercise also saw a drop in the West African state's debt ratio, with its debt to GDP ratio falling from 19% to 11%. Under the new data series, the country's GDP per capita rose to from $1 555, in 2012 to $2 689.

Nigeria, a country of an estimated 170 million people, is an OPEC member and Africa's biggest oil producer. The government is targeting 7.16 trillion Naira ($43.8 billion) in income from oil and gas this year. To read the complete report from Bloomberg, follow this link to Nigerian Economy Overtakes South Africas on Re-Based GDP.
Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

March 21, 2014

Top Lipper Award for Emerging Markets Goes to Africa-focused Fund

Nile Capital Management's Andy Chen and Larry Seruma

Nile Pan Africa Fund Recognized by Lipper as
Top Performing Fund

Princeton, New Jersey, March 21, 2014 – Nile Funds is pleased to announce that the Nile Pan Africa Fund (NAFIX) has received the 2014 Lipper Award for best Emerging Market Fund for the three year performance period ending December 31, 2013 out of 335 Emerging Market funds.  The Lipper awards recognizes mutual funds that have excelled in delivering consistently strong risk-adjusted performance, relative to peers.
This award recognizes our investment process and approach to identifying growth businesses trading at value prices in Africa and frontier markets.   We are very pleased with the win – especially as it highlights the Africa investment case – for investors who might not yet have heard of our “pure play Africa investment opportunity”.
“Africa represents about 4% of global GDP today and is projected to exceed 12% by 2050, according to economists at Citigroup.  We believe an Africa allocation should be a core holding in every global portfolio,” said Larry Seruma, Portfolio Manager.
The fund is open to investors and is available for purchase at Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and other major brokerages.  The minimum initial investment is $1,000 for Class A (NAFAX) and $250,000 for Institutional Class shares (NAFIX).
 About Nile Capital Management.
Nile Capital Management is a Princeton-based asset management firm with in-depth expertise in frontier markets. Since 2010, Nile has served as investment adviser to Nile Pan Africa Fund, a pioneering fund focused on capturing Africa's economic growth and the Nile Global Frontier Fund, an actively managed fund investing in the global frontier.   Nile seeks to identify and capitalize on attractive investment opportunities in Africa and other frontier markets. Additional information is available at www.nilefunds.com.

Past performance and ratings are no guarantee of future results. Rankings and ratings are only one form of performance measurement. For current performance information please visit www.nilefunds.com

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Nile Funds. This and other important information about the Funds is contained in the prospectus, which can be obtained by calling 1-877-682-3742. The prospectus should be read carefully before investing. The Nile Funds are distributed by Northern Lights Distributors, LLC. Nile Capital Management, LLC is not affiliated with Northern Lights Distributors, LLC.

Mutual Funds involve risk, including possible loss of principal. Frontier market countries generally have smaller economies and even less developed capital markets than traditional developing markets, and, as a result, the risks of investing in developing market countries are magnified in frontier market countries.

Lipper Fund Awards are based on Lipper’s Consistent Return calculation.  Lipper scores for Consistent Return reflect funds’ historical risk-adjusted returns relative to funds in the same Lipper classification and include each fund’s expenses and reinvested distributions, but exclude sales charges.  Consistent Return values are calculated with all eligible share classes for each eligible classification.  The highest Lipper Leader for each Consistent Return value within each eligible classification determines the fund classification winner over three, five or 10 years.

Lipper Award winners are recognized for being the top-risk adjusted performing funds in their respective Lipper peer groups for the listed periods ending December 31, 2013.  Past performance or ranking is not indicative of future results.  Lipper ratings are not intended to predict future results, and Lipper does not guarantee the accuracy of this information. More information is available at www.lipperweb.com. Lipper Leader Copyright 2014.


Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

March 12, 2014


Savita Iyer-Ahrestani writing for ThinkAdvisor asks a question on the minds of many investors around the globe, "Is Robert Mugabe's health failing?" Many are waiting to see what will happen in the inevitable post-Mugabe Zimbabwe.

"Larry Seruma, chief investment officer and managing principal at Nile Capital Management, said Zimbabwe’s highly educated population—it has an adult literacy rate of 90%, one of the highest in Africa—is one of the country’s greatest strengths and a building block for the future.
“There is a silver lining in that whoever succeeds Mugabe will see the need to have a different environment and a need to change the growth profile of country,” he said. However, the current policies are counter-productive for Zimbabwe and frustrating for foreign investors, and they are affecting a number of Zimbabwe’s key industries, Seruma said, notably agriculture.
Several years of repossessed farms and land grabs have resulted in experienced Zimbabwean farmers leaving the country and taking their expertise elsewhere. Rampant corruption and weak institutions have exacerbated the situation, and while other African nations are now benefiting from Zimbabwe’s agricultural expertise, the country itself has gone from being a food exporter to a food importer and is facing a massive food security issue that’s a drain on an already stretched economy, Seruma said."
Follow the link to read the complete article, "Investors Can Find Opportunities in Zimbabwe Despite 'Mugabe Rules'
Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

March 10, 2014

"Nigeria's soaring economy has met its match: old-style politics"

Former Nigerian central bank governor Sanusi with MasterCared CEO Ajay Banga
"On February 20, President Goodluck Jonathan suspended central bank governor Lamido Sanusi amid the latter's claims that $20 billion in revenue was missing from the state oil corporation. The move sparked widening bond spreads and tumbling currency valuation in Africa's most populous state."

Jake Bright, Whitehead Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association, covered the complexity and complications of this event for Quartz, an Atlantic Media digital outlet. In Bright's article, Nile Capital Managements Larry Seruma is quoted as having said, "The market did not take his (Sansui's) suspension very well of for a number of reasons. Sanusi has been a good governor. He's been an inflation hawk. Current inflation is about 8%, the benchmark bank rate is about 12%, so you are getting a real rate of return of about 4% -- pretty unusual in frontier markets."

Bright wrote: "Foreign investor jitters immediately after the suspension led to a sell-off in Nigerian assets, a 3.2% one day drop in the naira, and an 11-basis point yield spike on Nigeria's 10-year eurobonds. Not all the blame rests with the Sanusi shake-up, though. Nigeria has been contending with the same economic flu affecting many emerging markets that have been dependent on US Federal Reserve policy and reacting to its taper

Nile's Seruma added, " As the Fed tapers, the interest differential between the high-yielding assets in Nigeria and developed market asset has shrunk. Because of that you are seeing more investors pull out of Nigerian equities and fixed income."

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820

March 7, 2014

from The Africa Report: Africa in 2064 -- an Afrocentric future

Illustration by Emeric Therund
illustration by emeric therond

"With an African tech boom amidst continental unity and a meltdown in Europe, Stephan Chan, Professor of International Relations, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, imagines that Africa could be like in 50 years."

"It is 2064 and the sun shines over the Mediterranean. African Union drones fly in the blue skies and automatically drop life buoys onto the waters below, where Greek workers, fleeing a country of unemployment and financial meltdown – the fifth Greek default on its loans since 2012, with no further bailout in sight – struggle to stay afloat after their boat sank into the lifeless sea."

"The European part of the West is finished.  The United States has returned to splendid isolation, and Africa is the new great star of global capital and international relations..."

For more of Professor Chan's vision click through this link to read "Africa in 2064 - an Afrocentric future."

Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town

For more information please call 646-367-2820

March 5, 2014

For Investors Heading For The Frontier: Active Management Adds

Nile Capital presents pan Africa mutual fund
The once-vaunted BRICs have lost their mojo, at least temporarily, as the place to look for stock market diversification. Since April 2011, emerging market equities have generated negative returns.
Surprisingly, part of this void has been filled by the strong performance of frontier markets. In 2013, the gap between performance of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index (25.90 percent) and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (-2.60 percent) was the widest since 2005.

For institutional and individual investors alike, frontier markets are becoming a viable asset class to include in a well-diversified portfolio, and high rates of economic growth are the main attraction. Of the 30 fastest growing economies in the world (measured by real GDP growth), 23 are frontier markets.

The easiest way to implement a frontier market allocation is to participate in an index fund. Just as investors flocked into emerging markets a decade ago through passively managed vehicles such as iShares MSCI Emerging Marketing Fund, they now are showing interest in frontier index funds such as iShares MSCI Frontier 100 Fund (FM). With a goal of tracking the MSCI Frontier Markets Index, FM has grown rapidly in recent months, surpassing $500 million in assets.

Buyer beware.

Three Advantages Of Active Management
Is an index fund the best choice for participating in frontier market growth?

We believe the dynamics of frontier markets favor active management over indexing. Nile Capital Management, one of the few firms to actively manage frontier market funds, has demonstrated three key advantages an active manager can identify and exploit in frontier markets.

1. Portfolio Stability – Nile seeks to identify well-managed companies operating on the African continent, and then hold their stocks over extended periods. In comparison, index funds can be relatively unstable. Currently, the top three country weights in FM are Kuwait (18 percent), UAE (17 percent) and Qatar (16 percent). However, in May the MSCI index methodology will reclassify UAE and Qatar from the frontier to the emerging category. Millions of dollars invested in FM will then be reshuffled among other frontier markets, for reasons unrelated to frontier market growth or company profitability. Since frontier markets are dynamic, index re-classifications occur frequently and can be unsettling to investors.

2. Diversification – About 54 percent of the weight of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index is in the financials sector. This does not represent the diverse economic activities that are driving frontier market economies, especially the three themes that we seek to include: natural resources; infrastructure growth and a rising consumer sector. Across the African continent, we see countries with uncorrelated economic cycles, and we are identifying attractive companies operating under diverse business models.

3. Population and demographics – The high economic growth of frontier market economies is directly related to population and demographic trends. Africa’s population, currently estimated at one billion people, is projected to double by 2040. The average age of the continent’s people is 21, compared to 45 for developed countries. The average GDP per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa is $1,400 compared to $30,000 for the Arab States of the Gulf Corporation Council. (GDP per capita in the US is $51,000).
Of course, it’s the younger generation that forms new households, creates families, and drives consumer sector growth. An active manager can emphasize countries with emerging consumer economies such as Nigeria and Uganda. In comparison, a frontier index fund may be heavily weighted toward more mature economies such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and even Saudi Arabia (in some classifications).

In summary, we believe the smartest way to invest in the frontier is to take a long-term perspective and focus on well-managed companies trading at attractive valuations. Our portfolio concentrates on about 30-40 companies, and we look for opportunities to identify businesses trading below intrinsic value. We are very comfortable with the valuations of our leading companies, some of which are not covered by any Wall Street analysts. Indeed, the frontier markets are much less “efficient” than developed or emerging markets.
We believe frontier market knowledge and in-depth research gives active managers an edge in these markets, relative to a passive indexed approach.
Nile Capital Management
We Know Africa: From Cairo to Cape Town
For more information please call 646-367-2820