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Banking

The gateway to Africa is found in London

Why would three businesses that are focused on the continent base themselves in a north European city? The answer is access.

A fund manager with a microfinance twist, with most of its portfolio in Nigeria and Kenya. An investment bank and private equity house focused on Portuguese-speaking southern Africa. A donor-supported African infrastructure fund that has completed 47 deals across the continent.

Euromoney finds the executives of these businesses not in Lagos, or Luanda, or Nairobi, but in Holborn, Mayfair and Cannon Street, London. As interest in frontier investment and the African demographic story has grown, the UK capital is hosting more and more Africa businesses that find London to be a vital cog in the investment machine because of its access to global capital and its trusted legal system.

Meet Alquity. This fund manager, incorporated in 2010, has a novel approach to what it calls “life-changing investments”. It’s an emerging and frontier market investor using an ESG screen, but on top of that puts 25% of its revenues into microfinance to support people in the areas in which it invests. But it’s not purely philanthropy: Alquity argues that these donations help to create a culture of entrepreneurs and, along the way, consumers, which in turn helps the investments in the main portfolio.

 

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