180. Richard Okello of Sango Capital – from Chicken Arbitrage in Uganda to Radical Candor, Outsourced CIOs and investing in Africa

Richard Okello is CEO and Co-founder at Sango Capital, an investment firm he founded 10 years ago that has a particular focus on investing in Africa.  He previously was a principal at Makena Capital, and prior to that in a series of roles at Bridgewater Associates. He sits on several fund advisory boards, portfolio company boards as well as the boards of the African Leadership Foundation and Human Horizons Foundation.

Our conversation starts with reflections on Richard’s  extraordinary upbringing in Uganda, where as a young boy he started arbitraging the price of chickens at 12 years old, then campaigned for and succeeded in the abolition of caning in his school.  His predisposition for adventure continued when he attended Swarthmore College in the US and took on an extra strenuous workload, and then the demands on his time were amplified when he became the legal guardian to his three young sisters, when still in his teens himself.  Juggling these extraordinary duties and his new duties as a parent led to a zealous career focus and he found a welcome home in Bridgewater Associates, which was his first foray into the world of finance of investing.

We spend some time discussing the work environment there at Bridgewater, which is known for its radical candor, and learn how this was a good fit for him.  We turn then to his move into the newly founded Makena Capital, an outsourced CIO, and how this was the foundation for his interest in investing in Africa.

We discuss Sango Capital then and its origins, and how the opportunity set presents in Africa and how ESG considerations are woven in from the outset. Finally we turn to his reflections on his career so far, how his faith grounds him and where he expects the opportunities to invest in Africa will lie in the years ahead.

Series 1 of 2023 is brought to you with the kind support of HarbourView Equity Partners, a global investment firm focused on opportunities in the entertainment and media space. Founded by Sherrese Clarke Soares, HarbourView is a long-term investor in content with an industrial platform built to protect, optimize, and enhance the legacy of premium IP. With a vision of becoming a true stakeholder in the global value of content, HarbourView believes creators deserve a seat at the table creatively and economically, owning their narrative and maximizing value for all. https://www.harbourviewequity.com/

In celebration of our partnership with HarbourView Equity Partners we have selected a separate piece of music for each of the podcasts in this series.  We hope you enjoy them.