Wellcome’s Africa and Middle East head departs

Ritesh Anand has left the £13bn endowment to raise a Zimbabwe-focused fund.

Ritesh Anand, formerly head of Africa and Middle East investments for £13 billion (€14.5 billion; $21.8 billion) endowment The Wellcome Trust, has left the organisation to launch a Zimbabwe-focused fund.

As exclusively revealed by sister magazine Private Equity International, his new fund will combine a long-only listed equity strategy with an allocation to private equity investments. It is likely to be launched in the first quarter of 2010.

Ritesh Anand

“With the dollarisation and the economic recovery programme, Zimbabwe presents an attractive turnaround story,” he told the magazine. Having met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in July 2009, Anand was invited back to the country to help support development and encourage foreign investment. “This is too exciting an opportunity to miss,” he added.

Anand, who was born and raised in the country, was a fund manager there between 1997 and 2001 before leaving to join Wellcome.

Economic data provider Global Insight is expecting GDP in the country to have returned to growth in 2009. Having shrunk by 14 percent in 2008, the group has forecast 2.2 percent growth for 2009, rising as high as 10.8 percent in 2011.

Also eying the emerging opportunities in the country is Maris Capital, a firm which to date has focused on South Sudan, Kenya and Mozambique. “Zimbabwe presents a unique investment opportunity. The recovery will be long and bumpy, but we think the trend will be upwards,” said Maris partner Coco Ferguson.