Sovereign Wealth Funds in Africa: Taking Stock and Looking Forward

This paper provides a primarily qualitative analysis of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) on the African continent. It explores SWF mandates, including macro-economic management, savings and development, and their ability to combat the so-called resource curse. Case studies in Angola, Botswana, Ghana and Nigeria assess SWFs’ institutional structure, investment performance, and accountability and oversight mechanisms in order to determine their effectiveness in fulfilling these mandates. The findings highlight policy priorities for developing countries looking to establish SWFs, as well as policy adjustments for existing SWFs on the continent. Key findings include the importance of designing SWFs with robust fiscal rules, targeted investment mandates and accountability mechanisms that divert political incentives to misuse funds, as well as integrating SWFs within broader public financial management reform. Managing soft issues such as political and public expectations, awareness creation and buy-in are also critical and often overlooked in the technical design of SWFs.