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Investing in the new South Africa: New Africa Advisors is in position to pursue institutional investment opportunities.

To many of us, Africa's investment opportunities seem murky at best. Yet, with its changing political tenor, the continent's possibilities may be virtually boundless. The South African stock market, for instance, is the 10th largest in the world. And despite a recessionary climate in four African countries--including Botswana, Kenya and Ghana--these nations have sustained an annual gross domestic product rate of 1.79%, or four times that of the United States since 1989.

Tapping into this fertile financial terrain is a new mutual fund called New Africa Advisors (NAA). Founded in January 1993 by the Durham, N.C.-based asset management firm Sloan Financial Group, NAA is set to be a true pathbreaker. Not only is it the first African-American investment firm plugged into South Africa, it is the only post-Apartheid, pan-African fund.

Managed by NAA President and CEO Justin F. Beckett, an eight-year veteran of asset management at NCM Capital Management in Durham, N.C., the fund (minimum investment: $3 million) will give investors the chance to buy into both unlisted and listed African securities. This is a vital entree to South Africa, where no black firms are listed on the Johannesburg exchange even though 80% of the population is black.

"We will begin by investing in South Africa, but ultimately, we will invest throughout Africa to achieve optimum diversity and liquidity," says Beckett.

In an unusual deal, NAA has joined forces with the Dreyfus Trust Co. to sell fund shares on both the institutional and retail levels. "We make all the investing decisions," explains Beckett. "Dreyfus handles the marketing."

"Together, Dreyfus Trust and New Africa Advisors will play a constructive and positive role in the new South Africa," said Dreyfus Trust President Edward E. Madden in a prepared statement. "While we intend to invest up to 70% of the Trust assets managed under this arrangement in publicly traded securities, up to 30% of the assets may be utilized for direct investment opportunities designed to create jobs in South Africa."

With a research team of 10, NAA has offices in Johannesburg, New York City and Durham. For more information on the fund, contact Jamilah Sabir Calloway at 919-688-8092.
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Author:Warren, Renee E.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Jun 1, 1994
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