Indeed, the upheaval across the Middle East has provided “compelling opportunities,” Mr. Heikal says.
While stressing the long-term positives of Egypt, he talks at length about the potential of Africa as an investment proposition, emphasizing its abundance of natural resources, favorable demographics and untapped growth.
“Africa is outside the comfort zone of most private-equity investors,” he says. “When I did my Ph.D. at Stanford in 1987, Egypt was very little known. I remember getting a question on whether there were cars in Egypt or did people travel by camel. My answer was: I have a three-camel garage underneath my tent,” he laughs.
Africa is, he argues, the next great frontier where, “you can still do things on a massive scale, own major arteries of infrastructure, major arteries of electricity grids, major arteries of water, transportation and agriculture.
“Think of Africa as the way China was 30 years ago,” he says. “You have a huge population that requires everything. The only thing that is needed is the discipline of work and, of course, a stable government.”