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Old Mutual’s Investment Unit Raising 10 Billion Rand for Africa

Old Mutual Plc’s investment arm plans to raise as much as 10 billion rand ($994 million) for agriculture, infrastructure and private-equity funds in Africa.

“There are a lot of opportunities and a lot of optimism about Africa,” Diane Radley, chief executive office of Cape Town-based Old Mutual Investment Group, said in an interview today. “The Africa investments are still in their infancy. It’s a five- to 10-year journey.”

The private-equity fund has raised 2 billion rand and will probably close within two years after reaching a target of 3.5 billion rand, said Radley. Old Mutual’s investment unit also plans a fund that will invest in African mutual funds, an impact fund targeting development initiatives, including housing, and possibly health funds, she said.

“Private equity is a great African opportunity because capital markets can be illiquid,” said Radley, who was attending the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment conference in Cape Town.

Africa is attracting private-equity firms, including Carlyle Group LP and Actis LLP, with faster economic growth rates than developed nations. The potential generated by the continent’s 1 billion consumers has created a $25 billion private-equity industry.

Old Mutual, Africa’s largest insurer, has separately set aside 5 billion rand to buy assets in Africa.

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