Och-Ziff teams with South African tycoon

The publicly listed alternative assets manager will invest in Africa’s natural resources via a joint venture with Tokyo Sexwale’s Mvelaphanda Holdings and Africa-focussed Palladino Holdings.

Och-Ziff Capital Management Group is the latest alternative asset manager looking to enhance returns from Africa’s natural resources and infrastructure needs – and it has partnered with a prominent African businessman to do so.

Tokyo Sexwale

The publicly traded hedge fund manager has created a related joint venture, African Management, with two Africa-focussed investment firms, Palladino Holdings and Mvelaphanda Holdings (Mvela). Mvela co-founder Mosima Gabriel Sexwale, known as Tokyo, is a multimillionaire, a former apartheid activist and was a political prisoner alongside Nelson Mandela. Despite having abandoned a political career nearly a decade ago, he is reportedly a contender to lead the African National Congress party, which could eventually lead to succeeding Thabo Mbeki as South Africa’s president.

Africa Management has established African Global Capital I to invest in public and private markets across the continent, though no financial details have been disclosed as to its size or investment amount targets. The two African firms have thus far contributed unnamed assets to Africa Management, such as mining and public equity positions, while Och-Ziff has made capital commitments, according to a statement. An Och-Ziff spokesman declined to give financial details.

Sexwale noted in the statement that Mvela and Och-Ziff “have a strong historical relationship” and have invested together in the past, while fellow Mvela co-founder Mark Willcox, who is the chief executive of Africa Management, said the joint venture has a strong deal pipeline “across a broad spectrum of industries and geographies”.

Palladino was founded in 2003 with the aim to create a vehicle focussed on early-stage African resource, property and industrial projects, while Black Economic Empowerment group Mvela was established in South Africa in 1998.

The Blackstone Group, First Reserve, Emerging Capital Partners, Actis and Aueros Capital are among the private equity firms that have made investments in Africa either directly or via portfolio companies.