Sohn Conference

Jim Chanos' new short idea

Jim Chanos
David Orrell | CNBC

Jim Chanos said the reversal in the China commodity super-cycle will have negative ramifications for Africa.

Chanos is the founder and managing partner at Kynikos Associates, one of the largest short selling investment firms in the world. Chanos is lauded for his prescient negative calls on Enron and Tyco.

Speaking at the Sohn Investment Conference on Wednesday, he cited how the publicly traded miners had annual capex of $6 billion a year, which grew to $14 billion in 2001. Then due to China's construction demand the miners capex grew "geometrically" to $122 billion in 2012. "Ultimately this will normalize," Chanos said.

As this goes in reverse, commodity-dominated countries such as South Africa and Nigeria will suffer.

He recommended a short position in MTN Group, a mobile operator. More than 60 percent of the MTN Group's revenue and 70 percent of EBITDA is in South Africa and Nigeria with increasing competition.

Chanos concluded his presentation by saying MTN Group's other large-country exposure includes Iran, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Uganda, Sudan and Syria, which may be in even worse shape.