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.
This episode is being released as a bonus episode and fill feature in 2023 in our main investment focused series as well as in a special Africa focused series in 2023.