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Focus on Africa’s Wealth Sector

In a recent report by Henley & Partners, 2022 Africa Wealth Report published in partnership with New World Wealth, it shows that the African continent holds USD 2.1 trillion (0.5% of the aggregate global wealth of 463.6 trillion) and is projected to grow by up to 38% within the next decade. According to Knight Frank’s Wealth Report, the number of multi-millionaires in Africa will grow at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world over the next 10 years. The negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on private wealth and HNWI (High Net Worth Individual) wealth in Africa caused a drop in levels by up to 9% in 2020. African HNWIs are already on the path to recovery, total private wealth held in Africa is expected to hit USD 2.6 trillion by 2030. This will be on the back of rapid growth witnessed in the billionaire and centi-millionaires segments, particularly in the following fast growing economies; Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda (AfrAsia Wealth report, 2021).

There are currently 136,000 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) with private wealth of USD 1 million or more living in Africa, along with 305 centi-millionaires worth USD 100 million or more, and 21 US dollar billionaires. Notably, out of the 54 countries on the continent, 50% of total continental wealth is concentrated in only 5 countries referred to as ‘The Big 5’. These countries are South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and Kenya, research and wealth reports show. However, Mauritius although not numbered with The Big 5, remains the wealthiest country in Africa, in terms of wealth per capita (average wealth per person) at USD 34,500 and not by number of HNIs or total aggregate wealth. The number of HNWIs in Mauritius is projected to exceed 8,000. Following Mauritius in the ranking by wealth per capita is South Africa at USD 10,970 and third is Namibia at USD 9,320. In Q3 2020, the World Bank officially classified Mauritius (a small island nation of 1.27 million people, cradled in the Indian Ocean approximately 2,000 km off the south east coast of Africa) as a high-income country. Mauritius is now referred to by wealth managers as the Indian Ocean Powerhouse.

Despite a tough past decade, South Africa is still home to over twice as many HNWIs as any other African country 39,300 with aggregate wealth of 651 billion USD, while Rwanda is 17th on the list with 700 HNWIs holding aggregate wealth of 11 billion USD. In a comment, the CEO of MyGrowthFund Venture Partners Vusi Thembakwayo speaking to the rising of new wealth economies and the disruption leading to the diversification into new sources of wealth-creation, reckoned it an exciting trend driving the creation and flow of capital across the continent and challenging the preexisting narratives. He also described Africa’s Wealth as having a polar domination, with the largest wealth centers in the most extreme south — South Africa — and the most extreme north — Egypt and Morocco. The rise of the Big 5 which can also be referred to as the new frontier economies is a trend to be observed.

Value Based Investing

Values-based investing means investing in a way that reflects and upholds your personal philosophy and beliefs, this include focusing on certain investment opportunities that align with your world view and avoiding others that do not, mostly inclining towards those that have positive impact and best practices with respect to sustainability. Some refer to this type of investing also as SRI – Socially Responsible Investing, Impact Investing, Ethical Investing and even more recently, interests have steered towards what is called ESG Investing – Environment, Social and Governance Investing.

Over the past decade, investors and particularly millennials, have gotten serious about socially impactful and responsible investing, they and others are asking a serious question: What investments help me build wealth and have positive social impact, are environmentally responsible and uphold best governance practices?

In Africa, there are more opportunities to make a positive environmental and social impact than any other region of the world; the challenge isn’t getting more investors to embrace the concept of ‘responsible investing.’ The awareness is already growing with institutional investors; However, with individual investors, the same level of acceptability is yet to be achieved, particularly with ‘older’ investors. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors have become key considerations in investing in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Fitch ratings, this consideration is in line with sustainable development benchmarks. The COVID-19 pandemic and all of the extensive aftershocks have put a spotlight on the importance of ESG issues, and now more than ever individual investors, as well as the financial advisors that oversee the portfolios for these investors, are focusing a lot more on ESG issues

In recent times, there has been an increased focus on ESG in various countries. Investors are increasingly recognising the link between ESG performance, wealth generation, and risk mitigation. In Nigeria, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issued the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance (NCCG) in 2018, with Principle 26 aimed at improving sustainability. All organisations are required to duly pay attention to sustainability factors these include environmental, social, health and safety to ensure the long term future of the organization while contributing to the social and economic growth of the community where they conduct their business.

The interests for socially responsible investing is set to grow. According to research conducted by FactSet (2019) which still holds sway today, globally, almost 70% of investors surveyed intend to increase their allocation to ethical investments in the next five years. This trend is being driven by Generation X (those between 35 and 54 years of age). One quarter of investors in this age bracket anticipate a significant increase in the social credentials of their portfolio and a further 46% expect marginal increases. Millennials have taken this focus one step further. Ninety percent want to grow their allocations to responsible investments.

A major shift is seen in the relationship between investors and their wealth / financial advisors. Now more than ever, HNWIs are demanding greater insight into where and how their wealth is being invested and they are looking to their advisors to guide them in making investments that align with their values.