Empty Rooms: Investing in Africa

Colin Smith & Farouk Miah

Public Equity

Emerging Markets

Empty Room


Episode: 279
November 7, 2022

Episode Description:

The concept of an empty room is an opportunity ignored by most investors because they structurally can’t invest or behaviorally don’t want to. Investing in Africa follows earlier discussions about private equity in Venezuela and public equity in biotechnology as intriguing, contrarian opportunities in the current market environment.

Colin Smith and Farouk Miah, founders of All Africa Partners, a concentrated, public equity fund they launched last year with backing by three of the most successful investors in the region.

Our conversation covers their backgrounds and the opportunity set on the continent, including Africa’s market size, investable countries, liquidity, market performance, businesses, valuations, and currencies. We then turn to All Africa’s investment process across sourcing, due diligence, decision making, trading, portfolio construction, and examples. We close discussing risks in the region and lessons learned from Colin’s winning a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Show Notes
5:00 Colin’s and Farouk’s backgrounds
8:23 Changing perspectives of EMEA markets
9:38 History of markets in Africa
11:45 Deciding where to invest
13:23 Portfolio companies
17:50 Public and private markets
20:54 Risks
23:54 Managing illiquidity
26:29 Disappearing institutional owners
32:47 Handling currency
34:42 Inflation’s impact on Africa
39:56 Due diligence process
45:26 Process of executing trades
49:24 Assessing opportunities
56:50 Lack of institutional managers
57:47 Closing questions

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