S&P Launches African Benchmarks

Standard&Poor's has launched three new benchmark and investable indices designed to provide investors with access to Africa's developing equity markets, as well as being a measurement tool for the performance of these markets.

The S&P Pan Africa Index covers 12 African markets: Botswana, Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. The S&P Africa Frontier Index covers eight smaller frontier markets from sub-Saharan Africa, including Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

The indices aim to capture 80% of the total market capitalization of each country, and thus provide investors with a comprehensive benchmark on African markets, according to S&P. The S&P African Frontier Index gained over 52% over the last three years, while the S&P Pan Africa Index has gained over 18% in the same period, according to the company.

The third new offering is the S&P Africa 40 Index, designed to provide tradable exposure to 40 of the largest and most liquid companies that operate purely in Africa. Companies must be domiciled in Africa or have the majority of their assets and operations in Africa. The index is dominated by companies from the financial, materials, telecommunications and industrials sectors, with MTN Group (South Africa), Orascom Construction (Egypt), First Quantum Minerals (Zambia) and Standard Bank Group (South Africa) among the largest constituents. On a historical basis, the S&P Africa 40 recorded returns of 36.35% from March 2007 to March 2008, and 49.78% annualized on a three year basis, according to S&P.

For more information on the indices, please visit www.standardandpoors.com/indices