- In the simplest terms, an emerging market is any country with an economy that is growing rapidly, especially one that is demonstrating a fast growth through industrialization, but have lower standards of living as, defined through GDP per capita, than their developed market counterparts. These countries offer securities markets, trade-able assets, which are almost to the level of other nation's that are considered “developed”.
- Investment into an emerging market is similar to getting in at the ground level of a very promising domestic company. In years past, the emerging market has been untapped which means that the products and services they offer will likely become high-demand items in the near future.
- Areas that are not yet considered emerging markets, but rest on the cusp of becoming so, are called frontier markets. These are more volatile and not invested in as often.
- Countries and regions which are deemed as established markets include the United States, Japan, and portions of Europe. Current emerging markets that are watched closely by financial experts like Kelechi Okereke are large portions of Africa and Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and countries in the Middle East. The strongest emerging markets are Brazil, Russia, India, and China, which are referred to as BRIC.
The ability to wisely invest in an emerging market is one of Kelechi Okereke's many skills. His time spent in the financial industry has taught him many real-world and practical facts about emerging markets, an area that is foreign to many new investors. The following information will help others understand exactly what an emerging market is and why they are considered good investment opportunities.
Poverty is a global issue which Kelechi Okereke finds is not endemic to one particular area of the world, though effects some countries more than others. While certain continents face harsher levels of poverty, even the industrialized regions deal with the issue daily. Having traveled to many countries and continents, he has seen first-hand how the growth of small businesses can have a positive impact on local poverty. As countries that are plagued with poverty grow their own business prowess, those who are struggling are offered goods and services at a less expensive cost as well as employment opportunities. The problem of poverty is not one that will be solved overnight, especially when considering the following facts.
To be considered “poor” on a global level, a person must live on less than $1.90 US per day. Currently, well over one billion people in the world are surviving on that meager level of income. Of that staggering number of impoverished, more than seventy percent of those effected are women.
The continent of Africa is the most highly effected by poverty. Nearly fifty percent of Africa's total population is considered to live below the poverty line. As the number of impoverished in Africa continues to rise, the average life expectancy in the region decreases. Recent studies show that the mean life expectancy in Africa is now sixty years old. These substantially frightening poverty facts and figures are important to professionals such as Kelechi Okereke, whose family was originally from the African country of Nigeria.
While working with the top investment and financial institutions around the world, MBA student Kelechi Okereke has had many opportunities to study the changing trends in African business growth and prosperity. He has spent time in his family's native land of Nigeria, as well as London, Dubai, and his birthplace of the United States. Throughout his professional and educational travels he has explored the emerging markets in Africa, discovering which industries and nations are leading the pack on the continent.
Kelechi Okereke is a believer in businesses and their ability to alleviate poverty in some instances. He has long been a proponent of further investment and development of emerging economies in places in West Africa and beyond. Okereke’s parents hail from Nigeria. His father was an orthopedic surgeon who died from a heart attack while on a special medical assignment in his home country. Okereke is an investment banker and advisor working on his MBA degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Okereke is passionate about what further business development for the already rising economy of Nigeria and many other African countries struggling with poverty. Here are three African businesses working to alleviate poverty throughout the continent.
Kelechi Okereke hopes that continued investments in emerging economies in Africa will lead to new and better startups like the ones above.
Kelechi Okereke is working on his MBA degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He has worked for the investment banking division of Citigroup for six years and interned for a summer with the Dubai investment group Abraaj. Before he got his start with Citigroup, he managed to earn a job in the Nigerian Stock Exchange, one of the largest such exchanges on the continent of Africa. Okereke has developed an interest in emerging markets and developing economies, such as the one where his parents come from — Nigeria. Okereke is keeping his eye on these three companies based throughout Africa this year:
Kelechi Okereke is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He is already an experienced investor well-versed in advising large clients on mergers and acquisitions, large investment transactions involving international companies, and navigating the stock market for investors. Okereke has worked for Citigroup in the Investment Banking division, helping clients find the best foreign investments in emerging markets around the world. He has also worked at the Nigerian Stock Exchange and interned for the Abraaj Group in Dubai. He has worked with many private equity investors during his young career.
Private equity is capital that is not quoted and valued on any kind of public exchange. As Kelechi Okereke explains to his clients, private equity consists of funds and investors that make direct investments into private companies or engineer buyouts of public companies, causing the delisting of public equity. Kelechi Okereke also tells his clients that capital for private equity comes from wealthy individuals and institutional investors. Private equity can fund new technology development, build on working capital within a company, to make acquisitions, or to build a better balance sheet. Most private equity comes from institutional and accredited investors. These individuals can usually commit large sums of money for long durations.
Kelechi Okereke has advised on opportunities for managers of private equity, helping them make acquire sound assets. He is working on his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania at the moment and hopes to work with emerging markets around the world on behalf of his clients.
Kelechi Okereke has been involved in high-level negotiations for power generation in emerging markets before. In 2012, while working for Citigroup’s Africa M&A division in London, he advised two separate large clients during the bidding process of the Nigerian Power Privatization process, which turned over the national power company to several private companies who bid on select assets in the power market during the privatization process. Okereke was training to become a doctor when his interest in emerging markets, especially those in West Africa, caused him to shift careers to finance and business management.
Kelechi Okereke learned much about power generation in emerging markets during his time at Citigroup. He witnessed many of the common risks and potential opportunities that can arise in developing countries and growth markets that need energy investment. Kelechi Okereke has realized that the world’s energy dynamic is constantly changing, and that in response to this change, the security of supply and the investment in infrastructure has become more focused on emerging markets. Investment in energy infrastructure in emerging markets can be risky, but if done properly, the opportunities are great. Many of these opportunities are concentrated in generation projects as well as transportation and distribution.
Kelechi Okereke has learned much about acquiring assets, especially in emerging energy markets around the world. His interest in West African markets coming onto the national investment scene has created opportunities for him to work in the investment banking and M&A area of finance. His unique perspective and passion is highly valuable.