Knight Frank is launching a $350m (£173m) central and East African commercial property fund. The Times

The Rutley Capital East African Property fund will buy into offices and shops on the continent. It could float on the London, Nairobi and Johannesburg stock exchanges to help to attract African pension fund investors.

The fund will initially invest in Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. These countries have undergone rapid economic growth over the past few years, having previously been stricken by war or corruption. Regime change in these nations may have triggered inward investment that has accelerated the expansion of a new middle class.

Rutley Capita,l Knight Frank’s private equity arm, will manage the fund and expects to raise between $100m and $200m of equity. With borrowings, that will allow the fund to buy up to $350m of property.