Mysterious Legatum making waves

Legatum Group, the personal investment management vehicle for (until now) reclusive New Zealand billionaire Christopher Chandler, has quietly invested in, and made billions from, emerging markets for more than a decade. But it is now beginning to make waves in development circles. In the last 12 months it has undertaken several high-profile initiatives worth tens of millions of dollars all driven by the goal, it says, of promoting ‘global prosperity’.

These include buying one of the largest for-profit microfinance institutions in India (Share Microfin); funding the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, which provides fellowships to entrepreneurs from the developing world; and underwriting the Legatum Pioneers of Prosperity Award for East African businesses and the Legatum Fortune Technology prize. It also seems that they are rapidly staffing up the Legatum Institute, which, in addition to publishing the Index of Global Prosperity, ‘research[es] and promote[s] the principles that drive the creation of global prosperity and the expansion of human liberty’. Creative capitalism indeed.

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