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Sat 6 Nov 2010 10:01 AM

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Africa offers best opportunity for profits – Citadel chief

Head of Egypt’s largest private equity firm names Africa as top emerging market

Africa offers best opportunity for profits – Citadel chief
DEBT PACKAGE: Cairo based private equity company expects to secure a debt package by 2011 for its East African railway venture (Getty Images)

Africa is rapidly emerging as the next destination for savvy investors, according to the chairman and founder of the Cairo based private equity firm, Citadel Capital.

The continent will be home to the world’s largest working population by 2040 and manufacturing jobs are shifting from Asia towards Africa, making it a prime location for investment, said Ahmed Heikal.

Heikal, chairman of Citadel Capital said: “The BRICs are the new mainstream. If you’re really going to be creative, you need to look to what’s next, and that is clearly Africa and the Middle East."

He added: “Certainly, investing in these geographies is not for the faint-hearted, but the compelling returns make it a core part of any high-growth strategy. If you want to wait until there is no risk, go invest in Switzerland and be thankful for 1.4 percent on your 10 year government bond.”

Last month Citadel Capital, which is one of the region’s largest private equity firms with $8.3bn in investments, said it expects to secure a debt package by 2011 for its East African railway venture. The Rift Valley Railways is viewed as critical to expanding intra-regional trade in Kenya and Uganda.

The private equity firm also has an agreement with the Sudanese railway authority to offer cargo transport services and has leased more than 519,000 acres of land in Sudan to grow grain and other commodities.

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