Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fundraiser's mission in Africa

SIERRA LEONE’S allure, at least to foreign investors, has always lain in its diamond deposits. The fact that they yielded “conflict” or “blood” diamonds, whose sale was used to help fund the battles that ravaged the impoverished African country, did little to dent their appeal. Now, with the onset of peace in Sierra Leone, an ambitious 27-year-old Welshman is seeking to broaden the focus of foreign investors. Tom Cairnes wants to raise a $20 million (£11.4 million) private equity fund to invest in home-grown businesses in the country. Mr Cairnes, who abandoned a career with Marakon, the management consultants, for a humanitarian mission to Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, says that fundraising is about to start. His target investors will be donors and development finance institutions. (read more)