Nigeria's $1.55 billion sovereign wealth fund had a “good year” after weighting its investments toward dollar assets, CEO Uche Orji said.
“Our currency position was great as we were very long the dollar,” said Mr. Orji, a former Goldman Sachs banker and head of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, in an interview Monday. “It was the only game in town.”
The Abuja-based sovereign wealth fund, set up by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, gained exposure to the dollar through equities, private equity and fixed-income assets, Mr. Orji said. The fund, which invests revenue generated when the oil price per barrel exceeds that budgeted by the government of Africa's biggest crude producer, has adjusted to the market slump since June, he said.
“The budget was at $75 and we all know where the oil price is now, so you don't expect any contributions to the fund,” said Mr. Orji, who was attending the Africa CEO Forum in Geneva. “We prepared ourselves for the impact.”
Nigeria relies on crude exports for about 95% of its foreign-currency earnings and about 70% of government revenue.
The authority's private equity investments were “very successful” last year, said Mr. Orji, who declined to be more specific before the release of the sovereign wealth fund's annual report in the coming weeks. The NSIA's mandate embraces a mix of stabilization, savings and infrastructure funds, while outsourcing to a range of money managers, including Goldman Sachs and UBS.
The Nigeria infrastructure fund, which has invested in toll roads and gas pipelines, has yet to allocate most of its $400 million, Mr. Orji said.