Abraaj Group set on Africa

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT -

MID­DLE East­ern pri­vate eq­uity in­vestor Abraaj Group has placed Africa at the core to its in­vest­ment strategy, as it bets the con­ti­nent’s ris­ing mid­dle class will con­sume more goods. The Dubaibased group, which man­ages $10 bil­lion (R136bn) across its funds, al­ready has about $3bn in­vested in Africa in more than 40 com­pa­nies, span­ning health care, min­ing and dairy. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Arif Naqvi said he continued to be­lieve in the op­por­tu­ni­ties that were of­fered by the con­ti­nent. “It’s the con­sump­tion-driven economies that we fo­cus on a lot,” Naqvi said on the side­lines of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum. “In those economies, as peo­ple emerge into the mid­dle classes and move into cities, they’re go­ing to want more prod­uct, more in­fra­struc­ture.” He noted there could be short­term prob­lems in par­tic­u­lar coun­tries due to cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tions or other things, but said the long-term trend of in­creased con­sump­tion would not stop. Abraaj in­vested in In­do­rama, the largest fer­tiliser man­u­fac­turer in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, in Oc­to­ber. Naqvi said he would be in­ter­ested in buy­ing Bar­clays Group’s Africa busi­ness if it were to come back on the block. “I think the real re­al­ity is it’s run by a fan­tas­tic man­age­ment team, it’s got a great owner that has said it even­tu­ally wants to di­vest of it. Those ac­tiv­i­ties stopped a year ago,” Navqui said. “If it were ever to come back to the table of course we would look at it.” – Reuters

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