Exchange traded fund (ETF) investors aren’t the only ones finding haven in emerging markets. A major discount retailer is also looking to gain exposure to some of the fastest-growing economies in Africa.

In an attempt to establish itself into the last frontier, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) wants to acquire Massmart, South Africa’s third-largest chain, writes Joshua Brown for CNN Money. Africa is rich in natural resources and may provide labor that is cheaper than south-east Asia, but wary investors are concerned about the continent’s high poverty, disease, violence and corruption.

As large international companies set foot in Africa, these companies may be signaling that the potential benefits could outweigh any costs.

For more information on Africa, visit our Africa category.

Investors may access Africa through ETFs, such as:

  • Market Vectors Africa Index (NYSEArca: AFK). AFK tries to reflect the Dow Jones Africa Titans 50 index, which contains the broadest exposure to Africa. The fund favors the banking sector, which makes up 42% of holdings.
  • iShares MSCI South Africa Index (NYSEArca: EZA). EZA is based on the MSCI index for South Africa, which is the most developed of all African economies. Basic materials, at 30%, is the highest weighted sector, followed by banking and telecoms. [South Africa ETF: 10 Things to Watch.]
  • PowerShares MENA Frontier Countries Portfolio (NYSEArca: PMNA). PMNA provides exposure to North Africa and the Middle East. Jordon and Morocco make up 24% of the fund, and the two countries have the riskiest markets in the region. Kuwait and UAE make up more than 40% of the fund.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.