Calvert Funds of Bethesda, Md., the nation’s largest family of ‘socially-responsible’ mutual funds, announced today the launch of the Calvert South Africa Fund, which invests in South African companies that pass a series of social screens and have high potential growth.

The fund was formed after a merger completed March 30 between the Calvert New Africa Fund and the RISA Fund, a fund that invests in 'ethically-sound' companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is managed by RISA Investment Advisors of Philadelphia, according to Calvert. The new fund, which currently has roughly $5 million in assets, will use the Johannesburg Stock Exchange All Shares Index and the MSCI South African Index as benchmarks, according to Calvert. Calvert has hired RISA Investment Advisors and African Harvest Fund Managers of Newlands, South Africa as sub-advisers for the fund. African Harvest, which has about $1.5 billion in assets under management, will oversee day to day management of the fund and will do the screening. The screens ensure that the fund invests in companies that: “avoid companies engaged in tobacco, alcohol, and weapons manufacturing (up to 10% allowable revenue threshold); avoid companies that are significantly engaged in a pattern of violating indigenous peoples' rights, create jobs through innovation and expansion plans; train workers to enhance skills; empower workers economically and socially; achieve equity through affirmative action; [and] provide good employment conditions,” according to Calvert.

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