Richard C. Kang, chief investment officer & director of research at Emerging Global Advisors spoke to IB Times about the political unrest in North Africa and implications for investors
IBTIMES: From a purely investment perspective, does the rising unrest in Middle Eastern/North African countries like Tunisia and Egypt scare away investors, or does it provide a way to enter these markets, since equity prices there have dropped recently?
KANG: Not many investors have interest in this area. [They are] probably not educated enough to understand these markets. Those who do invest there are likely quite sophisticated or are professional investors (pensions, hedge funds, etc.). So I don’t think many are actually scared by recent events.
IB TIMES: How do you classify the markets/economy of Egypt and Tunisia? Are they emerging markets? Frontier?
KANG: Egypt is an emerging market. Tunisia is a frontier market.
IBTIMES: Does Egypt and Tunisia have well-regulated stock markets? Have they been receiving any interest from western investors in recent years?
KANG: Egypt has a small number of big companies that investors generally know (like Orascom), but overall the vast majority of investors know little of investing in these countries or the MENA [Middle Eastern and North African] region overall.
IBTIMES: Generally speaking, does news of political unrest in countries like this hurt other developing countries?
KANG: I don’t think so. I think political unrest matters more in the BRICs since that’s where a lot of the emerging market investing money has been headed. Other large markets like Mexico and Indonesia would have to be included in that list as well.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.