Zimbabwe-born investment banker Neil Harvey is in the last place he thought a globe-trotting career in emerging markets would ever take him: back in Africa. Harvey, 45, is CEO of Renaissance Group Africa, the ambitious new unit of Renaissance Capital, the Russian investment bank that has been a smashing success since its creation 12 years ago. RenCap's Moscow-based chief executive, Stephen Jennings, has invested $500 million in sub-Saharan companies over the past year and hired 50 professionals for Harvey to manage in Nigeria and Kenya. Last month Renaissance became the first foreign company ever to win a seat on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
Debt relief, relative peace and pragmatic governments have set the stage for an African economic miracle, the London-based Harvey opines during a rare respite from his frequent travels to his native continent. "We believe in these markets not for what they are now, but for what they can become," he explains.