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Opinion

Abigail with attitude: PS – Africa, Jim O’Neill BAML’s Montag

I am rapidly becoming an African aficionado. Maybe Barclays’ Jenkins is on the right track in targeting Africa as a key region of growth for Barclays. A mole was at the recent South African mining conference Indaba in Cape Town and reports record attendance and a febrile atmosphere of deal-making.

"It was rather like a souk," mole mused, "with slightly suspect mining entrepreneurs laying out their wares and obsequious bankers waddling from one stall to the next."

I notice that the Nigerian stock exchange was up more than 50% in US dollar terms during 2012 and one of the leading Nigerian banks, Guaranty Trust Bank, is predicting 7.5% GDP growth for Nigeria this year and 15% to 20% credit growth in 2013. Indeed GT Bank’s own return on equity for the first nine months of 2012 was over 30%. Perhaps, if you pick your spots correctly, Africa is the new Brazil.

And talking of all things Brazilian, I saw that Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs’s asset management division, and the man who coined the acronym Bric, is leaving the US firm. I have interviewed Jim several times and have always enjoyed his company.

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