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Frank Templeton prepares to launch Africa fund

Franklin Templeton is to become the latest fund management group to try its hand at investing in Africa. The emerging markets specialist has said that it plans to launch its new Africa fund in the UK in May, subject to Financial Services Authority approval.

The aim of the new Templeton Africa fund is to attain long-term capital growth by investing in companies who are based outside of Africa but have their main business in the continent.

Mark Mobius, the executive chairman of Franklin Templeton and lead manager of the new fund said: "We believe that Africa's markets present significant opportunities for development due to a combination of strong economic growth, rising demand for the region's vast natural resources, and a growing consumer market."

But, other fund management groups – most notoriously New Star Asset Management have tried and failed with Africa funds before. A lack of decent companies to buy, currency exchange problems and poor national governance are often cited as key reasons why the funds have never taken off. But this time could be different, suggests Mr Mobius, because of the amounts of money flowing into the continet from places such as China and subsequent infrastructure improvements.

Financial advisers say any investment in Africa should be viewed as relatively high-risk and only appropriate for those who can afford to lose their original investment.