The First African-focused Mutual Fund

By now, nearly every American investor knows about the potential opportunities in the emerging markets of BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and Latin America. What’s driving the growth potential, economists argue, is that countries with large populations and abundant natural resources are generating economic growth and nurturing consumer advancement toward the middle class. That movement, in turn, feeds outsized economic expansion.

The very same dynamics are unfolding on the African continent, but rarely–if ever–are African countries mentioned as a place for U.S. investment. Larry Seruma wants to change that.

Earlier this year, Seruma, chief investment officer, managing principal, and founder of New York-based Nile Capital Management L.L.C., unveiled the Nile Pan Africa Fund (NAFAX), the world’s first actively managed mutual fund to focus exclusively on Africa-based investments.

“The fund invests across the entire continent from Cairo to Cape Town, and in all industries, including basic materials, technology, utilities, and consumer goods,” says Seruma, who serves as the fund’s portfolio manager.

Since the fund’s inception last April, it’s become available on four major brokerage platforms: Charles Schwab, Fidelity, Pershing, and Scottrade. Seruma spoke to Black Enterprise about Africa’s emergence and how African American investors can take part.

Should Africa be on every investor’s radar screen?
We believe so. Here’s the reason: Brazil, Russia, India, and China were once where Africa is now. A lot of investors who may have missed out on the opportunity to invest in those countries 10 years ago are beginning to realize this is the time to do it for Africa. It’s the last frontier in terms of investment destinations. We believe that investors can look at Africa as a way to deepen their emerging market allocations without increasing risk.

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