Brian Menell: Japanese Are Turning To African Resources

17 December 2010, Press Release

Japanese Private Investment In African Resources Grows

There are the first signs of a growing interest on the part of both Japanese institutional and private investors in finding the right channels to increase exposure to African natural resources, says Brian Menell, CEO of Kemet Global Ltd and former executive director at Anglovaal Mining.

Menell recently returned from three days in Tokyo where he held various high level meetings with a range of potential investors in African mining and energy projects.

While African resources remain crucial for Japanese industry, participation in these resources has been eclipsed by more aggressive engagement on the part of the Chinese and others.

With the exception of a small number of deals in ferrous metals and oil on the part of the Japanese trading houses, Japanese interests have been left behind in the new scramble for control of African commodities.

Brian Menell said:

“I was very encouraged by the level of interest on the part of the Japanese private investors that I met, and on the part of certain institutions, in finding a new channel through which to more successfully engage in African opportunities.

“It is an exciting time for African private investment, and there is a sense in Japan that the old models of involvement no longer work and that they are being left behind. This is despite the high level of government goodwill towards Japan across the African continent.

“There has been significant Japanese Government aid and development assistance across much of Africa. However, unlike the Chinese and French, there does not seem to have been any coherent effort to leverage the resulting goodwill into commercial or strategic advantage.

“I think we are seeing the start of a new phase of enhanced Japanese commercial involvement in Africa. Given the power of the large Japanese trading houses and the commodity intensive nature of Japanese industry, this can only be a good thing for both Japan and Africa.”

– ENDS –

Notes to editors

Born in South Africa, Brian is part of the Menell family, which founded one of South Africa’s most successful mining and industrial conglomerates, the Anglovaal Group. At its peak the company employed 85,000 people and had a market capitalisation of $2.5bn.

He presently invests in and manages a range of mining and energy projects across Africa.

Brian also has more than 20 years experience in both diamond mining and trading, having worked for the De Beers Group for eight years, been a partner in the Venetia Mine, South Africa’s largest diamond mine, and having developed a number of diamond exploration, mining and trading enterprises across Africa and Canada.

He serves as director for a number of African and Canadian mining companies and co-founded a boutique diamond advisory service for wealthy individuals interested in large diamonds as investments.