Monday, March 03, 2008

Investment Strategy- Go Regional

One of my earliest posts was about an investment strategy for a 5 year investor at the NSE. This post updates those themes with one extra caveat, regional expansion.
If Kibz, RO and other politicians can change the habits of a lifetime, Kenya will be an African economic powerhouse by 2011. The upside of this is that the NSE will outdo its 2002-6 performance, as foreigners start chasing the frontier markets in earnest. The downside is that firms are now getting competitive and in every industry, listed companies will feel the heat.
If your chosen firm doesn't have any plans for East Africa to start with, then it'll struggle
to grow beyond being able to handle compe in Kenya. The 2nd important reason is to reduce the Kenyan political risk on your chosen stock which will be there in 2012 (if there are no elections in 2010 which I hope). You need stocks that can effortlessly grow come funny politics or not.
Both TZ and Ug are growing are at roughly similar rate of around 5% per year.
Ug is probably the easiest market to access grew at an estimated of 7% for and has opportunities in construction; banking; large infrastructure projects and the clincher, possible oil wealth.
TZ remains largely untapped and possibly hostile to Kenya but the EAC economic zone will overcome the latter.
Further on we have Rwanda and Burundi. Rwanda is working furiously hard to become an investment haven despite the smallsize of its  market and language barriers, is seen as having huge growth potential. If Kabila can breakaway from his father’s habits, there is not enough space to write about Congo's potential especially in commodities. Ethiopia with the 2nd largest population in Africa and an economy averaging 9% presents opportunities in agriculture; huge hydroelectricity potential; potash deposits and of course historic tourist sites.
In terms of stocks already expanding regionally, EA Cables; NMG; EABL; KCB ; Kenol; TPS and DTB are at the forefront of this trend.

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