The European, Middle East and North Africa Sovereign Wealth Funds Foundation (EMENA SWF Foundation) is growing, only months after being set up in Malta, with Spain’s Compañía Española de Financiación del Desarrollo (COFIDES) set to become a full member of the network.
The EMENA SWF Foundation was set up in March by Malta Government Investments (MGI), the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE) and Bpifrance, and is based in Malta.
It is meant to serve as a regional platform for the sharing of information and coordination of investments by sovereign funds in the Mediterranean region.
COFIDES’s full memberships follow from a memorandum of understanding it signed at the time of the EMENA SWF Foundation’s launch.
Speaking to BusinessNow.mt, MGI CEO Herald Bonnici says the choice of Malta serves to promote the country as an investment hub.
“We are linking Europe, North Africa, West and East,” he says. “With a national economy of around €15 billion, our attraction to these very large players with significantly deep pockets is limited. But as a platform for international investment, Malta’s potential is tremendous, and we are working on developing that.”
He says that the EMENA SWF Foundation is in touch with a number of other sovereign funds interested in becoming members, observers, or endorsers of the framework.
“We are also in touch with international institutions, like the Union of the Mediterranean, to explore ways we can discuss and cooperate,” he says, adding that “the feedback has been positive”.
The Foundation has also set up a Sherpas Council, where chief investment officers of its members can put investment proposals on the table for sovereign funds to explore, either bilaterally or multilaterally.
He stresses that current developments should be seen as a work-in-progress that will hopefully bear fruit in the coming years.
“We are dealing with sovereign funds of a significantly large nature, with different work practices from different countries with different languages and time zones. So bringing everything to fruition will take time.”
However, Mr Bonnici says he is pleased with the progress so far: “Things are shaping up well, and we’re certainly putting Malta on the map for large investors.”
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