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William S. Leavitt, president of Leavitt Capital Management

William Leavitt sees untapped potential in Africa

William S. Leavitt, president of Leavitt Capital Management, believes African private equity is one of the most attractive investment opportunities today and expects it to be a top performing asset class over the next decade.

Speaking at the 2010 Global Asset Allocation Summit hosted by Opal Financial Group last week, Leavitt said that in order to achieve true diversification and optimal returns, an asset allocation strategy must include non-traditional assets.

He went on to say that some of the best, non-correlated investment opportunities are in the frontier markets, particularly in Africa.

“Africa has one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in the world, an emerging middle class and abundant natural resources, minerals and commodities including oil, wheat, gold, uranium and diamonds, among others,” Leavitt said. “Furthermore, Africa is still largely undiscovered and very attractive from a valuation perspective.”

When Leavitt asked the audience how many had exposure to emerging markets, about half raised their hand. When he asked how many had private equity exposure in Africa, not one hand was raised.

Leavitt believes that Africa could be the next China.

“Africa today is not dissimilar to where China was 15 years ago” he said. “Back then, there were few ways to play that market, but if you were one of the lucky ones to find a way to participate, the rewards were tremendous.”

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