Invesco, the American independent investment management firm with over $1.35 trillion in assets, is expanding into African markets with the appointment of Gwendolyn Ansah Smith as Managing Director of Africa. Besides managing Invesco’s African business, Gwen will be a bridge connecting Africa and the global markets for local and international investors.
Despite the economic damage caused by COVID-19 in many African countries, Invesco still sees potential in Africa for impressive growth due to ongoing structural and economic transformations amplified by attractive demographic shifts – exponential population growth, dominance of youth, increasing urbanization, and a burgeoning middle-class.
Gwendolyn Ansah Smith was appointed on 17th February as Managing Director, Africa reporting to Zainab Kufaishi, Head of Middle East and Africa. In this new role, Gwen will explore and lead efforts to develop, execute and manage Invesco’s Africa business. Invesco’s ambition is to participate in Africa’s dynamic and impressive growth story, deliver market leading investment capabilities, and play a role in the development of its capital markets.
Gwen will also harness Invesco’s expertise to provide investors across the globe greater access to the burgeoning Africa market. Prior to this role, Gwen served as Managing Director, Global Institutional where she developed and executed key strategic initiatives on behalf of Invesco’s global institutional business.
Commenting on this appointment, Zainab Kufaishi, Head of Middle East and Africa said: “We see a significant opportunity to expand our market presence in Africa given the encouraging demographics and maturing capital markets and we are looking forward to deepening our commitment to clients both in the continent and globally. I am very pleased to welcome Gwen to the team, with her significant experience she is well placed to lead this exciting venture.”
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Paul Jackson, Global Head of Asset Allocation Research at Invesco said Africa is the only part of the world where future working-age population growth will resemble that seen across the globe since 1950. Indeed, UN estimates suggest that Africa will account for more than 40% of the world’s working age population by 2100 (from 14% in 2020).
“Not only does Africa have the potential to become the world’s bread basket it could also be its factory,” Jackson said. “Given the population shrinkage expected in other parts of the world, a choice will have to be made: either capital moves to where the workers are (Africa) or the workers will come to where the capital is. We believe Africa will be the investment story of the 21st century.”