By Juergen Braunstein, London School of Economics

Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) could easily resolve Africa’s infrastructure funding issues, or go a long way toward doing so. So why are they so hesitant toward investments in Africa and what are the chances for change?

There is no lack in money. SWFs are keen to diversify into real assets with long-term growth prospects – ample opportunities for which exist in many parts of Africa.

Indeed, if SWFs – large state owned investment funds – were to steer a mere 1.3 per cent to 1.5 per cent of their total assets into sub-Saharan Africa, they could close the region’s infrastructure deficit over the coming years. Read more

Shareholders in the Thai telecommunications group Shin Corp should not have been surprised when Cedar Holdings, an affiliate of Singapore state investment agency Temasek, sold a 10.3 per cent stake of the company for Bt20.9bn ($687m) on Thursday.

But the four per cent slide in Shin Corp’s share price suggested widespread dismay – and fears of a possible further stake sale. The selling price, at Bt63.25 per share, represented a discount of nearly 6 per cent to Wednesday’s closing price of Bt67. Read more

Shares in Standard Chartered, the emerging markets-focused bank, fell nearly 3 per cent in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Anything to do with the FT reporting the possible sale of Temasek’s 18 per cent stake, worth around $6bn? Possibly. Temasek isn’t just a large shareholder – it has been seen as akin to a guardian of the bank too. Read more

Agricultural Bank of China needs all the friends it can get as it prepares for what could be the world’s largest Initial Public Offering next month. With markets nervous and some questions about the asset quality of China’s big banks, AgBank is taking no chances at its seeks to raise $23bn-$28bn.

So, it is little suprise to see another partner go public today, with Standard Chartered Bank announcing a strategic alliance with AgBank. The emerging markets specialist is following hot on the heels of RaboBank, of the Netherlands, one of the world’s biggest agricultural lenders.

Neither have so far said whether they would actually buy AgBank stock, perhaps joining some big Asian institutions as cornerstone investors who have agreed to back the IPO. But it would be strange if they did not make some sort of commitment soon. Read more

In early 2007, NYSE Euronext bought a small stake in India’s biggest share market, the National Stock Exchange, amid much fanfare.

Here was the thing everyone had been waiting for – the inevitable globalization of the markets, with New York now seamlessly linked to Mumbai, the developed world’s exchanges cooperating directly with the emerging markets. It didn’t happen. Read more