NAIROBI, March 19 (Reuters) – Satya Capital, a London-based private equity fund owned by Sudanese Mo Ibrahim, plans to invest some $200 million in Africa this year, Ibrahim said late on Thursday.
Known for making a fortune from the mobile phone business and funding a major prize in support of leadership, Ibrahim said the continent offered high returns on investments.
“I would not be investing in Africa if I’m not bullish about Africa,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of a media conference.
He said the global financial crisis had showed risks to investments abounded in any region of the world and bolstered Africa’s position as an investment destination.
“What was the risk in investing in America? A lot of people lost their money investing in America. Any investments have risks not only Africa,” he said. “I believe Africa provides the highest rate of return on investment.”
Acquiring a stake in Kenya’s largest retail chain by turnover, Nakumatt, was among the investments Satya would make, Ibrahim added.
“Our people are talking to them and we made an offer to them. The ball is in their court because they need of course to restructure their organisation in a way that we can invest so we are waiting for them to do that,” he said.
Nakumatt’s Managing Director Atul Shah said last week the deal to sell a stake in the chain to a private investor was close to completion.
The tycoon, whose $5 million Ibrahim Prize has been awarded to former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and Festus Mogae of Botswana, said he was galvanising people around the key issues confronting the continent.
“We are focusing everybody’s mind on regional economic integration in Africa, the issue of agriculture, the issue of climate change. We think these are the three issues Africa needs to focus on, all wrapped up in governance and good leadership,” he said.
Earlier, at a session of the conference where he was a panellist discussing Africa’s image in the world media, Ibrahim also committed to provide money towards the launch of a pan-African, 24-hour television news channel.
By Duncan Miriri
(Editing by Hans Peters)