One thing I've learned through the years is that there will always be growth opportunities and places to invest wisely for the long term. As the U.S. wrestles with the aftershocks of the financial crisis, many investors I talk to are scouring the earth for some of the best opportunities.
Many of the smartest investing minds I know are "going global," and as we enter into the peak of earnings reporting season, we’re hearing a lot of companies also talk about opportunities in other parts of the world.
One of the up-and-coming hot spots I’m hearing a lot about is Africa.
“The New China”
Investors today are looking to capitalize on countries and companies that are rich in resources, and Africa fits the bill. For example, the Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jasir al-Thani, told me that he is investing increasingly in Africa. As Prime Minister, he is head of the country's $60 billion sovereign wealth fund.
Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, head of Mubadala Investment, one of the arms of the United Arab Emirates' sovereign wealth fund, also told me he has put money into Nigeria and Angola. He said it was easy to get money in and out and these two countries, which are rich in resources.
One business leader who told me in no uncertain terms about the importance of Africa was Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola . He went so far as to call it the “next China.”
Coke is the largest employer in Africa, and Kent told me the continent is "really going to blossom in the next decade." The company and its partners have invested $5.6 billion there over the last 10 years, creating what he called "one of our strongest businesses around the world." Looking ahead, his plan is to double that and invest another $12 billion. It was a fascinating interview, and you can watch it here.
And I’ll leave you with a thought from Clark Winter, a renowned global investor who has held prestigious leadership positions at JP Morgan,Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and others. He told me:
“For the last 50 years, maybe 60 years, because of the way World War II ended, the USA and the U.S. dollar were the answer to just about every question in the investment arena …. The bear market has changed that … the bear market has changed globalization from an option to an absolute necessity.”
We’ll hear more from Clark in the future, including his thoughts on which companies are best positioned to profit from the move to globalization.
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