The nondescript building housing the South African Public Investment Corporation in a business park in Pretoria gives little indication of its power. Yet from his office inside, Elias Masilela controls nearly $150bn that he is increasingly channelling into investments across Africa. When the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, a US-based consultancy, published a list of the world's "most significant and impactful public investor executives" last year, the usual names filled the top rankings. Sandwiched between the heads of SWFs from oil-rich Norway and Abu Dhabi were the heads of Chinese and Kuwaiti state-owned funds. But there was one standout: Mr Masilela. The chief executive of the PIC ranked 14 out of 100.