Monday, July 02, 2007

Investing in Africa/M.East Via ETF

Carl T. Delfeld submits: Do we need an exchange-traded fund for Africa? Why would anyone want to invest in Africa with its high levels of poverty, corruption and bureaucratic roadblocks? Nicholas Vardy notes that between 1995 and 2005, African stocks showed compound annual growth of 22%. Last year, the stock market in Kenya rallied 46%, and the local index is up 9x in dollar terms over the past ten years. In 2006, equities in Morocco were up 75%, 69% in Uganda, and 55% in Botswana. Nigeria's stock market's capitalization has doubled over the 12 months to about $45 billion.
Then there is the China factor. The Chinese leadership has targeted China as a region where there is a great power vacuum they wish to fill not to mention ample natural resources to fuel its 10% plus economic growth. Trade between China and Africa soared 40% to a record $55.5 billion last year. Direct investment has reached a cumulative $6.5 billion and a third of Chinese oil now comes from Africa.
Nigeria has been doing particularly well with a GDP that more than doubled between 2003 and 2006 and thanks to strong oil exports has foreign exchange reserves of just under $50 billion. These markets are, of course, rather thin making an ETF problematic but don't be surprised to see an African ETF in the next year or two...Yahoo notes

There is already One: GAF
Profile: The investment seeks to track the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the S&P/Citigroup BMI Middle East & Africa Index. The fund will invest at least 90% of assets in the securities that comprise the index. The index is a market capitalization weighted index that defines and measures the investable universe of publicly traded companies domiciled in emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa. It includes companies located in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. The fund is nondiversified

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