October 14, 2019

Rock Star Is Starting a Private Equity Fund Focused on Africa

Bob Geldof has started a private equity fund focused on Africa

Martin de Sa’Pinto reported in Reuters that former Irish frontman for the Boomtown Rats, Bob Geldof, was starting his own fund. http://bit.ly/oeUhTk After organizing relief efforts from super-concerts, Live Aid and Live 8, the rock star is starting a private equity fund focused on Africa. He is seeking to raise upwards of $1 billion for African businesses – $200 million of which he has already amassed.

“Geldof said the private equity fund, called 8 Miles, which represents the shortest distance between Europe and North Africa, had attracted increasing attention because of what he called an existential fiscal crisis in the euro zone.

“It’s all about globalization. Without Africa, this whole game stops,” Geldof told delegates at a Julius Baer investor conference in Zurich, focusing on growth. “Last month, of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world, six were African.”

Geldof said he agreed to help raise money for the fund late last year after discussions with Phillip Pritchard, Chief Executive of CLSA, an Asian brokerage and investment company.

He said that while Africa was currently seeing huge investment from China and other nations anxious to access its raw materials, the continent had the chance to become a productive global powerhouse.

“Currently 80 percent of exports from Africa are unprocessed raw materials. There’s your opportunity: they need manufacturing,” Geldof said.

“We need their brains and their muscle power, because we’re growing older,” he said, adding that by 2020, Africa will have a larger young working population than China or India.
“They are connected (to the global economy) now and cannot be disconnected,” he said.”

Live Aid and Geldof’s other projects have increased awareness for Africa’s plight to literally billions of people. Millions of dollars of charity have followed. The Guardian asked Geldof if he was done with relief work. http://bit.ly/eu2jw9

“No! I’ve just said, things have evolved, and the next step is the growth of Africa. You know?”

His longer answer is a typical mix of blithe assumption that the story of Africa to some extent tracks his involvement in it, an oblique reply to the charge that Africans should be treated as equals rather than just recipients of charity, and a display of his still hugely impressive commitment – vision, even. “So, in the 80s you dealt with the symptoms of a single, empirical financial problem, called poverty. The symptoms are hunger, lack of health, lack of education. The structures are, as ever, political and economic. That took 20 years, from Live Aid to Live 8. And then you move on – you have to try as hard as you can to get Gleneagles implemented – the debt issue was carried in the first eight months, and the G8 has done maybe 60%, maybe less, of what was promised. We’re still chasing it. Meanwhile, there’s another Africa opening up that’s entirely part of the new world, and we’d better [expletive] get hip to it. And the best way I can do it is to illustrate what I mean, and that’s by funneling huge amounts of money into investing in dignity and lives and jobs so that they can construct their own countries, you know? So that’s the next and possibly last step that I can contribute to.”

Geldof isn’t just a foul-mouthed nice guy raising a lot of charity. Now that the rock star is starting a private equity fund focused on Africa, he should be making a nice chunk of change himself. A 2010 McKinsey report listed Africa as the fastest growing continent. http://bit.ly/aXs5zQ Makes more sense than the stagnating US and European economies.

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