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AFRICA’S FIRST SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT NETWORK LAUNCHED YESTERDAY

By Shanna | June 10, 2010

The Africa Sustainable Investment Forum (AfricaSIF) was launched yesterday at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

AfricaSIF is an independent pan-African not-for-profit network, knowledgebase and advocate promoting sustainable investment across the continent. The network aims to achieve its objectives by attracting investment in the public, private and philanthropy sectors across asset classes, countries and stakeholders.

Speakers at the launch included Jay Naidoo, Chair of both Development Bank of South Africa and GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition); Judge Mervyn King, Chair of the Global Reporting Initiative and King Commission; Simon Harford from Actis; African Development Bank Director, Tim Turner, Corli le Roux, Legal Counsel for the JSE; Wanjiru Kirima, chairperson of the Principal Officers’ Association; and SAVCA’s JP Fourie.

In his welcoming address, AfricaSIF co-founder Graham Sinclair said that AfricaSIF is a strategic new step in facilitating investment in Africa that purposefully integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. ‘Africa needs capital, but it does not benefit from capital that does not develop our continent sustainably. AfricaSIF aims to attract new capital in new ways to Africa and help to grow sustainable investment on the continent by taking a long-term interest in Africa’s economic development. 2010 is set to be a landmark year for Africa. With the world’s eyes on the FIFA World Cup kicking off in SA in just two days’ time, massive infrastructure development is taking place and the knock-on effects for the economy and business are immense. Africa has about the same number of potential consumers as India or China. After 40 years of sub-par growth, Africa’s GDP grew at 5% for five straight years from 2002, putting Africa back on the global investment radar,’ says Sinclair.

“AfricaSIF is a pioneering network which believes in the triple bottom line of people, profit and planet,” said Simon Harford, Partner: Africa for Actis, the private equity house with over 60 years experience in Africa. “AfricaSIF’s work lays the foundations upon which strong, long-term and sustainable businesses are built.”

“This initiative launched at the JSE will create a network of best practice on ESG factors in investment for the continent,” said AfDB’s Tim Turner.

Sinclair adds that analysis in March 2009 indicates approximately USD 6.9 trillion including USD 300 billion in emerging markets was invested integrating ESG factors, but wonders how much of this is in Africa. ‘AfricaSIF will provide services and opportunities for our members to work together to align investment profitability with social and environmental responsibility in Africa. We are also working on the first ever report on the state of sustainable investment in Africa, scheduled for release in December 2010,’ he says.

AfricaSIF was hosted at Africa’s largest stock exchange to emphasise the practical nature of AfricaSIF, a network as a meeting place for the whole investment value chain, attracting capital to sustainable businesses across asset classes.

“The over 400 members of Principal Officers Association are asset owners that are increasingly driving alignment of their fund managers and service providers toward the sustainable investment theme. AfricaSIF is a new element of the investment ecosystem that will play a vital catalytic role across Africa in accelerating this process,” said Wanjiru Kirima, chairperson of the Principal Officers’ Association and AfricaSIF co-founder.

“Our members are actively seeking opportunities to deploy investment in clean tech and other sustainability themes in Africa”, said SAVCA’s JP Fourie. “We look forward to working with and in the AfricaSIF network”.

Further launch events are scheduled to take place in Cape Town end June, Lagos, Nairobi, Cairo/Tunis, Geneva, London, Paris, New York and Boston. The first annual AfricaSIF conference, ESG Africa, is in design in partnership with global ESG specialist journal Responsible Investor and other partners, and scheduled for December 2010.

Ends

Distributed on behalf of AfricaSIF by: Percheron Public Relations & Marketing
Gillian Pinks
Tel: +27 21 790 3748
Cell: +27 82 892 8378
email: gillian@percheron.co.za

For further information please contact: Graham Sinclair
Cell: +27 82 712 1925
email: africasif@gmail.com

Notes to editors

AfricaSIF is a virtual and personal community. We are pro-Africa, pro-sustainable investment, and pro-individuals and institutions. AfricaSIF attracts different segments of the sustainable investment ecosystem to come together in Africa.

As a member-driven organisation, we plan to provide some key components of the investment infrastructure in Africa, including a benchmarking survey every two years starting in 2010. AfricaSIF is a strategic new step in facilitating investment in Africa that purposefully integrates environmental, social and governance [ESG] factors.

The AfricaSIF Steering Committee brings different levels of expertise, experience and effort to the table representing African investment practitioners based in Africa and in the diaspora, with pan-African leadership perspectives from Kenya, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Mauritius with more country representation to follow. The steering committee includes Kelebogile Moloko, Mandisa Zungu, Kiki Lawal, Roselyne Yao, Josiane Fanguinoveny, Loyiso Mabece, Lagu Alfred Androga, Stanley Nyoni, Louise Gardiner, Hylton Brown, Wanjiru Kirima, Kerry Kilcullen, Graham Sinclair, Chiz Nwokonkor and Gillian Pinks.

All of these members offer their time pro-bono to this important new initiative and are supported by graduate interns from leading policy and business schools in the USA and Europe such as the Tufts Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, IE Business School, Wharton, Columbia Business School, the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
AfricaSIF wishes to thank Old Mutual Investment Group, the JSE SRI Index, SinCo and Prowess Investment Management for sponsoring the launch event.

For further information please visit www.africasif.org

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