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Interested in Looking for Value in Egypt - Emerging Markets Guru Mark Mobius Has Some Advice

December 21, 2012 | About:

What a life Mobius leads, seeing all of the most interesting corners of the world in search of value. And making millions while he does it.

This month he has been on the ground in Egypt and other North African countries looking for investment opportunities and surveying the stability of the situation.


Here is his report on what he saw:

It’s been almost two years since the “Arab Spring” swept North Africa and the Middle East, and with it, grand hopes for change. Sometimes, change doesn’t happen as quickly as the people would like, and oftentimes it can be a messy process. That is certainly true in Egypt right now, a country that is still in the throes of shaping its future. The ousting of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 didn’t instantly transform the nation into a model of democracy, and the country is currently deliberating the best way forward via public debates, protests and the election process. But I’m still optimistic about the country’s potential, and continue to seek out investment opportunities there.

On my most recent trip to Egypt in early December, I arrived in Cairo a few days after President Mohamed Morsi announced that he was assuming dictatorial powers over the writing of the new Egyptian constitution. It was a weekend, and my team and I were introduced to a private art dealer who lived with her mother in a walk-up apartment on a busy city street. We went to see her private collection. The young woman and her mother were members of the sophisticated Western-oriented Egyptian class but not considered wealthy, except for the wonderful art hanging on the walls of their apartment. The young woman said that she was going to Tahrir Square, or “Liberty Square”, where the big “Day of Revolt” and subsequent demonstrations took place nearly two years ago. I asked why she was going. She answered that it was a way to show support for the people protesting the new government’s restrictions on liberty, and their undermining of hard-fought democratic reforms. She invited us to join her. We arranged to meet up an hour later.
When we arrived at Tahrir Square there was barbed wire at the street entrances to the square and civilian guards were asking for ID cards or passports as a security measure. Once we were inside, we found a rather festive atmosphere with hawkers selling fruits, tea and other items. This was a rather shocking situation to us, since we expected a lot of turmoil and chaos. But such conditions were not in sight—at least not during our visit.

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